‘Mac cloner’ Psystar’s lawyer hints at antitrust defense in lawsuit brought by Apple

“One of the attorneys hired by Psystar Corp. to defend it in a copyright- and trademark-infringement lawsuit brought by Apple Inc. hinted that the clone maker will bring up antitrust issues if the case goes to trial,” Gregg Keizer reports for Computerworld.

“Colby Springer, one of the three lawyers from the Palo Alto, Calif., firm of Carr & Ferrell LLP who will represent Psystar, wouldn’t go into details about legal strategies but spoke in general terms about the case during an interview on Thursday,” Keizer reports.

“‘This case has been mischaracterized,’ said Springer. ‘There are a lot more complicated issues than just copyright or trademark. There are more complex issues [than those] in respect to the end-user licensing agreement. And antitrust issues come into play, too,'” Keizer reports.

More in the full article here.

38 Comments

  1. “Dont get me wrong, I love Apple. They do have the best designed hardware and software around. BUT I do like build my own machines though. So I am rooting for psystar on this one. OSX is such a great OS that I dont think it should be limited to only apple computers.”

    so what you are saying is that you love OSX sooooo much you want to take it and illegally resell it, putting apple out of business and killing OSX….

    thinking! not just a good idea!

  2. @Passerby:

    Not the same as what Psystar is doing. They took a MacBook, bought from Apple, and modified it and resold it. Psystar is making unauthorized copies of OS X, installing them on systems which are not Apple-built (violating the EULA), and selling them to the general public. Very different situation.

    The anti-trust claims likely won’t work; however, they are probably a reason why Apple delayed in filing suit. The last thing Apple wants is a legal precedent by a runaway jury determining what it can or can’t do with its OS.

  3. @bizlaw:

    Plainly not the same thing. But wouldn’t Psystar’s claim of anti-trust violations depend on an argument that it is not possible to work within the Mac platform? Axiotron, hundreds of peripheral manufacturers, and thousands of software developers do manage to do business within the bounds set by Apple. The vast majority of these have no ownership ties to Apple whatsoever.

    I can’t see how anti-trust can be proven, nor can I see what it has to do with Apple’s claims against Psystar. Either they’re stupid or I am. I suspect it’s not me.

  4. “…complex issues here…” I think is lawyer-ise for…..”Shit, I really don’t have a case but I better make something up and not let Apple in on the fact that I don’t have a case. Hopefully I can be really creative with the English language and convince Apple to settle out of court so I can make my car payment and pay alimony.”

  5. Actually you should expect this kind of FUD from their lawyers. They are trying very hard to deflect attention from the real issue at hand: Apple accuses Psystar of taking their intellectual property and selling it as if it were their own.

    If Psystar had limited their activities to selling hardware that was compatible with MacOS X and providing instructions for installing MacOS X on their hardware, I doubt Apple would have sued. Instead, they installed MacOS X on the hardware and sold the bundle as if they had created it. Reselling someone’s intellectual property as if it were your own is a bit of a no-no. My guess is that Apple will focus on Psystar’s using the MacOS X name and trademark to market their product, which potentially damages Apple’s reputation and confuses customers as to who is at fault if the Psystar computer does not work as Psystar claims. If you read the Apple financial statements, you will find that Apple both has spent a lot of money establishing the MacOS X trademark has having value and believe that the value of the trademark contributes significantly to Apple’s bottom line. Damaging the value of their trademark for your gain is equivalent to stealing from Apple.

    Actually these kind of trademark infringement cases are relatively straight forward. Unless you have a license to use a trademark, you cannot use the trademark in a manner that “borrows” the reputation of the trademark holder.

    The second significant issue is the fact that Psystar appears to be distributing a copy of a MacOS X Update, which is Apple’s intellectual property, as if it were their own. I assure you that if you put up a server that distributes Microsoft’s updates to Window’s owners so they do not have to access the Microsoft servers, you will find yourself in a “whole lot of trouble.”

    On the other hand, the “monopoly” suggestion is a real stretch. Trademarks, copyrights and patents are all legal monopolies, which are allowed because they are very narrow. Even though Microsoft has been ruled a monopoly with respect to its control of the PC operating systems, it is not legal to either use the Windows trademark or the Windows software without a license from Microsoft. Do either and you are probably due for a rude awakening in court with Microsoft’s lawyers.

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