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Psystar may use anti-monopoly defense against Apple

updated 04:00 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2008

Psystar: Apple a monopoly?

One of the lawyers representing Mac clone maker Psystar -- which is defending itself in a copyright and trademark infringement suit filed by Apple -- says the case has been "mischaracterized," and is hinting that antitrust laws may come into play. Colby Springer tells Computerworld that the lawsuit is more complicated than just copyright or trademark issues, and suggests that the defense may try to paint Apple as a monopoly, exerting control over its software to limit competition in the hardware business.

Apple filed suit against Psystar in July, claiming the company violated the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) for Mac OS X Leopard. The EULA clearly states that Leopard is licensed only for "Apple-branded" hardware; Springer's lawfirm, however, has successfully tangled with Apple in the past. "And we have an antitrust background," notes Springer.

Apple's choice of attorneys may indicate that it too anticipated a fight over antitrust issues. Springer says that James Gilliland Jr., the first lawyer named in Apple's court filing, has an antitrust background as well as experience in intellectual property and breach-of-contract issues.

Other intellectual property attorneys interviewed by Computerworld say that Psystar would be wise to press its focus. Carol Handler, with Wildman, Harrold, Allan and Dixon, says that Psystar could mount a direct attack on Apple's exclusive marketing license, but that it would not be easy.

"What Psystar might say is, 'What we would like to do is use the Mac operating system's unique features more broadly on a variety of hardware," according to Handler. "I think it's a very, very hard argument to make, but I wouldn't be surprised if they tried."

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. scotte75ky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I think Psystar has a legit case here. I don't necessarily agree with it, but Psystar may actually be able to pull this off.

  1. MacTech84

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Antitrust? seriously?????

    You have got to be kidding me. I can see how Apple would be considered a monopoly since they produce their software and hardware, which no one else comes close to offering. However, there is one thing they learned from the early 90's and that is the clones do not work. There is something missing here called a LICENSE!!! SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY STATES YOU CAN USE THE SOFTWARE FROM THAT VENDOR!!!! Apple does not want to do this like Microshaft has done, however, they did do it legally. Psystar needs to go away, and their cute little lawyers too...

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    if it were...

    this easy, then I think someone would have done this a LONG time ago with Macs. Especially a company like Dell, HP or Sony who would have a legal department strong enough to pull it off.

    Not that I'm any type of legal expert... :)

  1. aitala

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uh, no

    Sorry, anti-trust does not apply here. That is like saying that GM in breaking anti-trust because you can't get 'em with Ford engines...E

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    7.5% solution?

    A 7.5% solution of monopoly, it concentrates the mind wonderfully!

    - Where's your self-control?

    Fair question.

    - Don't you feel ashamed of yourself?

    Yes. This will cure it.

  1. cranfordio

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Antitrust - No Way

    The problem with their argument is that they are saying that Apple is stifling competitors because they don't allow the Mac OS to be installed on anything except Apple computers. But since Apple makes the computer and the software they can do whatever they want. Now if they were allowing other manufacturers to distribute computers with the OS, but not Psystar, that would be different. Or if Apple was purposely breaking third-party software because it competes with their own software, but as far as know, they are not doing that either. Apple hasn't done anything illegal here, and I hope Apple counter sues this company for all the legal expenses, though I doubt they would get any.

  1. Johnny Niles

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple doesn't have one. At 7 or 8% market share, what is Apple monopolizing, exactly? Their own hardware and software? Does anybody realize how stupid that sounds? Does Ford have a monopoly on the Mustang? No, because Ford owns the Mustang.

    In order to have an actual monopoly, you have to control an entire market in which other companies are trying to compete. What other companies are making Macintoshes? That's right, none. Because Apple OWNS Macintoshes. You can't have a monopoly on your own product, and Apple is under absolutely no obligation to allow other companies to make Macintoshes.

    Psystar's lawsuit is like suing Sony because PS3 games don't work on Xboxes. It's ridiculously stupid. Just because you want Apple's software to run on your crappy hardware doesn't mean Apple has to allow it.

  1. ViktorCode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My bet

    Though this strategy might impress uneducated masses my bet is it will fail to impress the court.

    Protecting trolls, mr Springer, is not the same as trying to dictate developer the scope of market for its product.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    These guys are just a bunch of crooks trying to make a quick buck. Just like with Paul McCartney's ex, they don't have a leg to stand on.

  1. arrannen

    Joined: Dec 1969



    apples hardware and software works because it IS apple and not a hodge-podge of 3rd party vendors and non-descript hardware.

    If apple opened up to the clones, they would lose the edge they have over everyone else, and would finally be no better than Microsoft/PC.

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