Apple is getting more aggressive against a Mac clone company it has been battling in court. The technology giant asked a federal judge to close Psystar's Mac clone operation and ante up $2.1 million in damages, court documents reveal.
Apple has been silent since U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of Apple in a copyright suit against Psystar. In his Nov. 13 ruling, Alsup also ruled that Psystar violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by installing Apple's Mac OS X on the cloned computers it sold.
Alsup's order granted Apple's motion for a summary judgment and nullified a similar motion from Psystar, and marked a major defeat for the cloner. But Apple is seeking to drive the final nail into Psystar's infringement coffin.
Forcing Psystar's Hand
On Monday, Apple filed a motion requesting Alsup to grant a permanent injunction. If granted, the injunction will force Psystar to stop selling computer bundled with Apple's Mac OS X.
The permanent injunction would also ban Psystar from using, selling or owning software that makes it possible to crack Apple's OS encryption key, which would let it run Mac OS X on Psystar's hardware. Finally, the injunction would ban Psystar from "inducing, aiding or inducing others in infringing Apple's copyright."
Apple insists a permanent injunction is its only option in the face of Psystar's continued copyright violations. "Psystar has announced its intention to continue infringing (and to contribute to the infringement of) Apple's copyrights in, and circumventing the technology protection measures in, the current upgrade of Mac OS X, version 10.6," Apple said.
The $2.1 Million Infringement
But Apple isn't content with a permanent injunction against Psystar. The Mac maker is also seeking $2.1 million in damages. Psystar isn't expected to be in a financial position to pay the damages, but Apple is making a point.
"Psystar's whole business is premised on stealing from Apple," the motion reads. "Psystar pirates Apple's software, circumvents Apple's technological protection measures, and illegally benefits from the goodwill and reputation Apple has built. Psystar's conduct, if permitted to continue, will both tarnish Apple's reputation for excellence and lead to the proliferation of copycats who also will free ride on Apple's investments, infringe Apple's intellectual property rights, and cause further irreparable injury."
Putting an End to Psystar
Psystar had previously sued Apple in a Florida federal court, claiming it was running a monopoly. The Doral, Fla.-based Psystar accused Apple of forcing a tie between the Mac OS X operating system and Apple's hardware in the end-user licensing agreement. Psystar argued that Apple's EULA unlawfully restrained trade by barring users from installing its operating system on non-Apple hardware. The judge dismissed those charges last November.
As Michael Gartenberg sees it, Psystar's infringement was arrogant, clearly violating Apple's licensing terms and clearly daring Apple to file suit. Apple is doing what anyone would do in that position, said Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret, protecting the value of its intellectual property.
"Given the fact that the court has already strongly favored Apple's position, it makes sense if you are Apple to get rid of this thorn in your side once and for all," Gartenberg said. "These people are ripping off Apple's intellectual property and trying to make a dollar of their hard work and, more importantly, in many ways diluting the brand experience they've spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating."