updated 10:05 pm EST, Tue December 15, 2009
Court rules final judgment in Apple's favor
The US District Court for the Northern District of California has entered a final judgment granting Apple's motion for permanent injunction against Psystar. The decision effectively bans the clone maker from continuing to infringe on the Mac OS X copyrights, including manufacturing and distribution of non-Apple computers with the Mac operating system pre-installed.
The court order further prohibits Psystar from developing or supplying technology that circumvents Apple's copyright protection methods. The company is also barred from assisting others with creating Mac clones or related technology.
The order carefully worded the injunction to encompass the entire range of Mac OS X versions, including future updates. Interestingly enough, Apple initially worked to keep Snow Leopard out of the California suit, claiming it was "irrelevant." The company later changed its stance after Psystar filed a Snow Leopard lawsuit in Florida courts.
"Because a copyrighted work need not be included within the scope of discovery to fall within the scope of a permanent injunction, Snow Leopard will not be excluded from the scope of the injunction," Judge William Alsup wrote in the ruling. "Rather, it will be included to the extent that it -- and any other non-litigated Apple software programs of similar character to Mac OS X -- qualifies as a protected work under the Copyright Act."
Although Psystar has been prohibited from selling computers with Snow Leopard pre-installed, the judge left a grey area in his interpretation of the company's Rebel EFI software. "Whether Rebel EFI violates the terms of the injunction set forth in this order is a factual issue more appropriate for a contempt action," Judge Alsup wrote. The software helps users install Mac OS X on their own systems, however it was not included in the discovery portion of the California suit.
The California ruling is without prejudice, allowing the clone maker to file a new action specifically relating to Rebel EFI. Judge Alsup warns the company, however, that it will be "selling Rebel EFI at its peril, and risks finding itself held in contempt if its new venture falls within the scope of the injunction."
Psystar recently claimed it plans to appeal the California case, while the Florida proceedings continue. The company's website currently lists each of its Mac clones as out-of-stock, however the Rebel EFI software is still available for $50.