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Russian clone maker the latest to take on Apple

RussianMac joins Germany-based PearC and U.S. company Psystar that also make Mac clones.

RussianMac is the latest company to release a Mac clone and test Apple's resolve to stop companies from selling its operating system.

On its Web site, RussianMac says that a full version of Mac OS X Leopard comes pre-installed on its computers. The company also confirms that the operating system is able to receive automatic system updates from Apple once installed.

This is where Apple seems to have the clone makers over a barrel. Apple's Mac OS X End User License Agreement (EULA) clearly forbids anyone from installing the software on hardware not sold by Apple. This effectively closes the door on companies determined to make a Mac clone.

However, RussianMac maintains that it does not violate the terms of the EULA agreement because the operating system was purchased directly from Apple. That still doesn't get around the condition of installing it on an Apple-branded machine.

Legit or not, it is a popular argument. Germany-based PearC is using that defense to sell Mac clone computers in that country.

Of course, in the U.S., Psystar is the case everyone has heard about. The company first made headlines in April 2008 when it released its first Mac clone with Mac OS X pre-installed.

Apple filed a lawsuit against Psystar in July 2008, claiming the company was violating copyright and software licensing agreements.

The legal battle is ongoing between Psystar and Apple. The two are set to meet in court on November 9. Most legal experts expect Apple to ultimately prevail in the case.

Because the laws in each country are different, it's unclear whether Apple could be successful in Russia or Germany.