Judge rules for Apple in Psystar case

Summary judgment states that Psystar's creation of Mac clones that run Mac OS X violate "Apple's exclusive reproduction right, distribution right, and right to create derivative works."

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Natalie Weinstein
2 min read

A judge has ruled in Apple's favor in its copyright-infringement case against Psystar, which has been selling Mac clones running Mac OS X.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup on Friday granted Apple's request for a summary judgment, while denying Psystar's counterclaim.

"In sum, Psystar has violated Apple's exclusive reproduction right, distribution right, and right to create derivative works," Alsup wrote in the ruling (PDF), which was posted by legal site Groklaw.net.

Apple filed its suit in July 2008, a few months after Psystar began selling Mac clones. The case revolved around Psystar's contention that it could run Apple's Mac OS X operating system on non-Apple machines. Apple denied this, stating that its Mac OS X end user license agreement allows people to install the OS on Apple computers only.

Both Apple and Psystar had a requested a summary judgment, which is a determination made without trial based on the merits of a case.

Neither Apple nor Psystar could immediately be reached for comment.

One of Psystar's contentions was fair use. The judge rejected this, stating the company "does not even attempt to address the four factors used to determine fair use." Another of Psystar's claims was "first sale" doctrine, which allows someone who buys copyrighted material to sell it. But Alsup said this doctrine applies only to legal copies, not to the "unauthorized copies" that Psystar produced.

The judge also ruled in favor of Apple's claim that Psystar violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Psystar has violated the DMCA by circumventing Apple's protection barrier and trafficking devices designed for circumvention," Alsup said.

In addition, the judge rejected Psystar's claims that Apple had misused its copyright and that Apple's licensing agreement was unduly restrictive.

Alsup's ruling did not include a permanent injunction against Miami-based Psystar because, he said, Apple has not requested one yet.

There are other claims Apple has made that could still go to trial, including breach of contract, trademark infringement, and trademark dilution. A hearing to determine remedies is set for December 14. The trial has been scheduled to begin in January.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. PST with more details from the ruling.