Psystar: No conspiracy against Apple

Mac clone maker denies 'concerted effort' after Apple claims others are in cahoots

Mac clone maker Psystar Corp. denied it is at the center of a cabal whose purpose is to steal Apple Inc.'s intellectual property, documents recently filed with a federal court show.

"Psystar denies that said activities are unlawful and improper," the company said in its Dec. 16 response to allegations made earlier by Apple. "Psystar likewise denies the suggestion that there exists a concerted effort to commit infringement of Apple's intellectual property rights, to breach or induce the breach of Apple's otherwise unenforceable license agreements, and to violate state and common law unfair competition laws."

The Florida-based computer seller, which is embroiled in a lawsuit with Apple over its installation of Mac OS X on Intel-based machines, was reacting to Apple's charges last month, when the computer and consumer electronics maker alleged that Psystar was not acting alone.

Then, Apple accused 10 additional individuals or companies of colluding with Psystar, but did not name names. "Persons other than Psystar are involved in Psystar's unlawful and improper activities described in this amended complaint," Apple charged in a late November filing with U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup. "The true names or capacities, whether individual, corporate or otherwise, of these persons are unknown to Apple. Consequently, they are referred to herein as John Does 1 through 10."

Apple said at the time that it would reveal the John Does' names when it uncovered them.

Reports in the general media as well as on Apple-centric sites seized on Apple's claims, with some speculating that Psystar was just the front man for bigger and better-funded rivals of Apple.

Elsewhere in last week's filing, Psystar admitted that it has come up with a way to circumvent code that locks the Mac OS X operating system to Apple hardware, but denied that the dodge violates Apple's copyright.

Previously, Psystar said that Apple had added code to the operating system so that when someone tried to run it on non-Apple hardware, Mac OS X would fall into a "kernel panic" or "infinite loop." Psystar made those claims in an effort to refute Apple's charge that the company violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Psystar said the Mac OS X code "that causes kernel panic and/or infinite loop does not constitute a technological copyright protection measure."

Apple first sued Psystar in July, charging it with breaking copyright, trademark and software licensing laws by installing Mac OS X on computers it sold for substantially less than comparably equipped Macs.

Although Psystar countered in August with a lawsuit of its own that accused Apple of multiple antitrust violations, the judge dismissed those charges in mid-November.

Psystar then revised its countersuit, claiming that Apple conducted "brazen misuse" of federal copyright laws.

The case is slated for trial in April.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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