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Permanent injunction bans Psystar's Mac cloning activities

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Snow Leopard

    The reason Apple argued Snow Leopard was irrelevant was because it wasn't yet released. Apple didn't want to give Psystar insider information about a not yet released OS. It probably was afraid Psystar would use the information to hack the OS. Rightfully so.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    the obvious conclusion

    and thank you, Psystar, for helping Apple establish a strong precedent against future attempts like yours.

  1. appleuzr

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    check mate.

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: snow leopard

    That's silly. You think that psystar didn't know about snow leopard and didn't already have a copy of it when they filed the suit? It's called a torrent or warez site.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: the obvious conclusion

    and thank you, Psystar, for helping Apple establish a strong precedent against future attempts like yours.

    All it does is give Apple precedent over computer makers pre-installing modified versions of OS X on their systems.

    It does not, however, stop anyone from selling computers that can run OS X, selling any add-ons that allow OS X to run, nor even Psystar selling computers that can run OS X, be it with their Rebel EFI, using the EFI-X module, or just installing your own USB key with appropriate patches.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Unfortunately testudo is right

    There are a ton of loopholes in this ruling, but at least it eliminates over-the-counter clones.

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