Psystar Loses Gamble Against Apple

Lora Bentley

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Apple summary judgment on its copyright infringement claims against Mac clone maker Psystar on Friday, ruling that the Florida-based startup infringed Apple's copyright by installing Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. PC Magazine reports:

The judge noted that Psystar did not defend its right to modify the OS X for limited purposes, as it has a right to do. The judge also ruled out a "fair use" defense.

Apple first brought suit against Psystar 18 months ago, alleging copyright infringement, breach of contract and other claims arising out of Psystar's manufacture and sale of the "Open Computer," which featured Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. Psystar then filed a countersuit against Apple in which it alleged antitrust violations and misuse of copyright, but the court dismissed Psystar's claims.


On the copyright issues, Apple also argued that Psystar has violated its right to create derivative works of the operating system by adding unauthorized software files to the Mac OS X that was loaded on the Open Computer. The court agreed, according to, ruling that Psystar made three unauthorized modifications. Writer David Neal explains Psystar (1) replaced the Mac OS X bootloader with a different one; (2) disabled and removed Apple kernel extension files; and (3) added non-Apple kernel extensions.


A hearing to determine appropriate remedies on these claims has been scheduled for Dec. 14, 2009. And don't worry, that won't be the end of the Apple-Psystar saga. The copyright claims are resolved with this ruling, but breach of contract and other claims will go to trial.

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