Mac clone maker Psystar saga ends as Supreme Court denies appeal

Four-year-old legal case wraps up, but Florida Mac clone seller has been out of business for years

The four-year-old saga of Psystar, a Florida Mac clone maker that was crushed by Apple, ended Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal of a lower court ruling.

The decision to not consider the case (download PDF) upheld a ruling last September by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That ruling confirmed a permanent injunction against Psystar that prevented the company from copying, using or selling OS X, and blocked it from selling machines with Apple's operating system preinstalled.

"We are sad," said K.A.D. Camera of the Houston firm Camera & Sibley LLP, in an email reply today to a request for comment. Camera represented Psystar in its bid to get its appeal heard. "I expect the Supreme Court will eventually take a case on this important issue."

Last year, Camera had said, "This is far from over," after the Ninth Circuit's decision.

Apparently, it is.

Psystar and Apple began battling in court in July 2008, when Apple sued the small company over copyright and software licensing violations. Psystar started selling Mac knock-offs in April of that year, with Apple's OS X 10.5, aka Leopard, pre-installed.

The case wound down in late 2009, after U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar had violated Apple's copyright as well as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) when it installed Leopard on Intel-based computers.

The two companies later reached a partial settlement that required Psystar to pay Apple $2.7 million, which according to earlier bankruptcy filings Psystar did not have. Psystar has been barred from selling clones equipped with OS X since December 2009.

The company's website has long since disappeared, although the domain remains in its possession.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

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