Rebel modders have struck at Apple via a modified kernel which reenables Atom support, allowing installation of OS X on a broad range of third-party hardware; something forbidden under Apple’s closed hardware empire.
However, Apple’s legal team is preparing to strike back at the modding community, seeking to bury the largest commercial entity to support modding — Psystar. In a new filing with Judge William Alsup on Monday, Apple claims it has the right to a permanent judgment against Psystar under the U.S. Copyright Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA). The judgment would prevent Psystar from selling products, ending the firm’s campaign of rebellion.
Apple accuses Psystar of helping to spread the growing rebel movement against its closed ways by “trafficking in circumvention devices.” Psystar has been selling a virtualization product called Rebel EFI, which allows OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) to be installed on non-Apple hardware with Intel processors. Apple says the product is causing “unquantifiable” harm to its brand.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, writes in an affidavit, “So long as Psystar continues these practices, the harm to Apple and its brand will continue. I believe Apple should not be required to file a new lawsuit to stop Psystar from infringing Apple’s intellectual property each time Apple releases a new version of Mac OS X. Requiring Apple to file multiple lawsuits to stop the same infringing conduct would be unfair, expensive, and a waste of the Court’s and the parties’ resources.”
Even if Psystar loses the case, it can effectively win if it thwarts Apple’s request for a permanent judgement. Florida-based, Psystar didn’t even break even in 2008 and 2009 and currently has less than $50,000 in assets. Thus it doesn’t stand to lose as much from a simple order to pay damages, if it can prevent an order to cease and desist its operations.
Mr. Schiller, though, says that his company will only be happy if the rebellious Psystar is stomped out for good. He states, “Even if Psystar could pay damages, the harm to Apple’s brand, reputation and goodwill is unquantifiable.”
Apple has already scored a summary judgment against the Mac cloner. It will now attempt to obliterate the company and kill the corporate side of the modding community once and for all with a December 14 motion hearing in San Francisco court.
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