Would-be ‘Mac cloner’ Psystar’s lawyers du jour get nothing when they lose cases

Apple Online Store“Walking in the door at Camara & Sibley feels like wandering into someone’s apartment by mistake,” Loren Steffy reports for The Houston Chronicle. “The office is at the top of an unmarked staircase in a half-finished building near Rice Village. Inside, Kiwi Camara, wearing horn-rimmed glasses, khakis and an open-collared shirt, is pacing and talking on his cell phone. Tim Nyberg, sitting on document-laden couch, has long hair and wears faded jeans and an untucked shirt. An electric guitar hangs on the wall.”

Steffy reports, “The two are leading a case that could open the door for lower-priced imitations, or clones, of Apple’s high-dollar Macintosh computers and enable PC makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard to sell Apple’s operating software.”

“Earlier this summer, the attorneys agreed to defend Psystar, a family-owned Florida business that builds computers with Apple’s operating system and sells them for about half the price… Apple sued the company in July 2008, claiming the Psystar clones violated Apple’s software licenses,” Steffy reports.

“The case seems a slam-dunk. Apple specifies that its operating system can only be installed on Apple hardware. Along the way, Psystar filed for bankruptcy. In June, Psystar President and co-founder Rudy Pedraza asked Camara to take over the company’s defense,” Steffy reports. “For Camara, it seemed like the perfect case.”

Steffy reports, “Camara & Sibley has five lawyers and five support staffers, but it shuns hourly billing, long the maintstay of the legal profession. Instead, the firm charges a flat rate, and for big cases like Psystar, it gets nothing if its lawyers lose. Hourly billing is simply a way for law firms to mitigate risk, and risk doesn’t bother Camara.”

Steffy reports, “Camara is something of a legal wunderkind. He entered Harvard Law School in 2001 at age 17 and graduatedmagna cum laude two years later. Nyberg’s background is also unusual, having been an engineer for Netscape before going to law school.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can’t wait until Camara & Sibley win this case. Not only will they get paid and be able to afford a real office (and maybe even a nice legal name change for poor Kiwi), but Apple’s Mac OS X will rapidly overtake the POS Windows in worldwide operating system market share. Even better, precedent will be set that enable others to do the same type of things such as forcing Sony to license their PS3 system software to Microsoft for inclusion on Xbox and to Nintendo for the Wii (and vice versa, in all possible combinations). Man, this is going to be great!


  1. Even though opening the mac platform would generate massive mindshare, Apple would still hurt it’s hardware division. Apple’s OS is it’s important way to distinguish itself from competitors.

    My first “Mac” was a PowerComputing PowerCenter 120 which ran system 7.x. I have been a mac aficionado ever since. The negative side of mac clones was that they cannibalized Apple’s hardware customer base.

    Let companies that create innovation enjoy the benefits of doing such costly, difficult, great work. They earned it. From what I know, no one is stopping Psystar from making their own OS.

  2. Clones will cannibalize Apple’s hardware sales?? WHAT?? Apple’s hardware isnt worth the premium price? That’s what the Apple folk here are saying…..Apple hardware is overpriced and not worth what they charge.


  3. There is no premium stated troll rat mouse. You’re playing with a warped hockey puck.

    RE: “Clones will cannibalize Apple’s hardware sales?”
    History shows this is the case. Get knowledge and brain activity.

    Bless you.

  4. Rattiemouse, the reason they aren’t selling like hot cakes is….

    1. They aren’t marketed like Macs.
    2. Psystar is bankrupt and facing lawsuits.
    3. I have my doubts about how stable OSX would be on one of those. An Apple Software Update could cause instability, as could the next version of OSX. Then you’re screwed.
    4. They lack a support system like Apple.
    5. They’re business ways are corrupt.

    Furthermore, the reason Apple’s Mac sales would be hurt if OSX was being easily distributed on all kinds of computers is what makes a Mac so good is OSX. If Macbook Pro’s only ran Windows (God forbid), I doubt I would have bought one. But OSX coupled with the great hardware features of a Mac (trackpad, computer casing, great screen), with Apple’s support, with the fact the OS and computer were made by the same company for each other, is what makes a Mac so great. If your cheap and crappy Dell netbook ran OSX, some ignorant buyer would think it’s “just as good as a Macbook” because it’s cheaper and scoop it up.

  5. I still believe that Apple simply has a stronger case. The legal maneuvers to date by Psystar have hurt their case. But for a moment, let’s imagine the little law firm retained by Psystar wins. Does this mean that Apple would in any way be obligated to support other computers beside those they make and sell? No. Could Apple introduce hardware modifications that make it more difficult for cloners to run the Mac OS on their beige boxes? Absolutely. Psystar could theoretically win the battle, yet lose the war. One more thing: do you think Apple does not have formidible legal resources of its own?

    Composed on my iPhone

  6. Another interesting point: How real can a business be if the CEO does not know anything about its finances? The last time I was involved with a discussion about setting up a business, the bank wanted to know how the business would work from the principals (not those people who were advising them) and the monthly financial reports had be signed by a company officer.

    I wonder if Psystar’s real business has nothing to do with selling computers and that is why Mr. Pedraza had to respond during his deposition on the company’s financial status with respect to selling computers with he did not know the answer to the question. No, it could not be. That would make this charade a conspiracy and we all know that no honest business person would be involved in a conspiracy to defraud others of money.

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