Judge tosses Psystar's countersuit

Judge tosses Psystar's countersuit

Summary: A federal judge has tossed out a countersuit filed by Mac clone maker Psystar, which alleged that Apple was engaging in anticompetitive business practices by controlling both the hardware and software that makes up the Macintosh computer line. Psystar was given 20 days - until Dec.

TOPICS: CXO, Apple, Hardware

A federal judge has tossed out a countersuit filed by Mac clone maker Psystar, which alleged that Apple was engaging in anticompetitive business practices by controlling both the hardware and software that makes up the Macintosh computer line. Psystar was given 20 days - until Dec. 8 - to amend its complaint to convince the judge that it has a more solid argument for its countersuit.

The judge rejected the countersuit, in part, over the allegation that Apple's operating system is so unique that it has no "actual or potential competitors," noting that Psystar did not present facts to support that claim. (PDF of ruling)

Apple sued Psystar in July, alleging copyright infringement, induced copyright infringement, breach of contract, trademark infringement, trade dress infringement and unfair competition. (PDF of original complaint) The following month, Psystar filed its countersuit, a move that some legal experts said was Psystar's best chance at winning the legal battle and staying in business.

Previous coverage:

Topics: CXO, Apple, Hardware

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Not a surprise

    Now Apple buries Psystar for copyright infringement of their
  • Well it was a slippery slope....

    To claim that a product that a given company develops, own
    and sells should be sold by said company based on terms
    defined by others outside of said company.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • RE: Judge tosses Psystar's countersuit

    Apple does not allow Clones. It is their right as it is THEIR PRODUCT!
  • Not tossed ...

    I'm am attorney. What you are talking about is not "tossed". If the judge had "tossed" the counterclaims, he would have granted judgment on those claims to Apple. All he is doing is saying Psystar must allege sufficient specific facts that could support its claim. If they do allege such facts when the amend, the counterclaim could continue. It is not unusual for an original complaint/counterclaim to be insufficient and to be amended with more details. My lawfirm recently won a USD $1.6 million suit where we originally had to amend to state more specifics.
    • And I bet you billed your client for first the

      obviously rather sloppy work done in the first suite and then
      the better, more detailed one later right?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • The "bill"

        Could easily be a percentage of the winnings, so the faster they get it done the less work they do for the money.

        Without being an attorney, and not even knowing what work they did I think you're quite unqualified to call it "sloppy."
        • Oh, so . . . according to attorneys, then . . .

          "Faster" = "Better"

          Hence, "quality" of work is not necessarily a concern; hence, having to "amend" ["claims" over and over --- until *actually* getting them *right*] is *probably* the likeliest of scenarios.

          Question: How *many* attorneys would one have to *really* know to determine --- for sure --- that the above is not an axiom, of sorts?

          Depends on how naive one is, of course.
          brian ansorge
    • Your correct.

      The judge just reject the countersuit by Psystar. However Psystar has 20 days to send them more material to support their claim.
      It would be interesting to see what materials the Psystar comes up with to support their countersuit. Apple has several cases on their side so I don't know enough what Psystar will bring to counter those.
  • Slightly confused

    What is the difference with this case and the MS case? I thought that the heart of the matter was that it was deemed illegal to control both the hardware and OS; that locking people out from competing on either side is unacceptable.
    • Not slightly...

      very much confused, I'd say. You need to dig deeper. As
      they say, Google is your friend.

      Microsoft does not make PCs. They did (and still do) not
      have an integrated hardware/software package like Apple.

      Among other things, the MS suit was about how MS used
      its market position to force (conspire with) PC makers to
      keep out other OSs and software (browsers) off of the PCs
      the hardware makers produced.

      And, FWIW, Apple does not prevent anyone from running
      another OS on a Mac. One can wipe the Mac OS and just
      run Windows.
  • Microsoft should use this a precedent ...

    Gee, tee-hee, winkie-winkie, MS's legal team must be loving this. All of the defensive posturing for Apple in this case can--and will, and should be--used in any future MS cases where MS claims it legally has a right to control its own desktop, OS integrations, and Office feature set.

    I am no MS shill, but I do get a kick out of the religious hypocrisy of "freedom-loving/liberated" Mac/Linux heads when their "god" becomes the target. Sounds like an election, where sound reasoning and honest reflection are merely quaint notions of by-gone eras.
    • Again some more still.......

      MS lost its suite not because it was a monopoly. There is
      NOTHING illegal about being a monopoly. Fact is being a
      monopoly gives a company certain advantages that others
      do not have for instance stifling innovation and
      competition. However what MS was convicted of was it's
      illegal use of its monopoly powers. There is plenty of
      competition out there for Apples products. Apple does
      nothing to prevent these competitors from competing.
      Even if you could make a claim that Apple has a monopoly
      (which I for one thing would be difficult) you can not
      provide any similar actions that MS took that lead to its
      trial and conviction and those that Apple has been doing.
      There is NO comparison.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • You missed the salient difference...

      There's actually very little Microsoft got spanked for
      that Apple couldn't get away with. The difference had
      nothing what-so-ever to do with generic business
      practices... it was all about Monopoly powers.

      Microsoft was and is powerful enough to be considered
      to have Monopoly powers.. usually that means
      significant control of at least 75% of a major market
      (Microsoft is over 90% on the desktop).

      Apple controls 100% of the Macintosh market, but
      that's still only 6-7% of the desktop computer market.
      So they can legally do stuff that Microsoft cannot.

      Now. Pystar may have other arguments. The laws that
      allowed PC cloning in the first place still apply...
      if Pystar makes a computer that can run MacOS out of
      the box, but doesn't contain any copyrighted Apple
      software, it would be hard to find a judgement against
      them. I don't know if that's the precise case or not,
      but it's pretty similar to what IBM vs. Compaq
      covered. If the Pystar only runs MacOS, they could be
      in trouble on a secondary level, "inciting the
      customer to commit copyright infringement"... if that
      it's only use. But if they ship with Linux installed,
      for example, and don't include tools to make it easy
      to install MacOS, they have a pretty solid case
      against Apple's messing with them. Those sort of IFs,
      of course, are the core of the court action.

      (Disclaimer: I used to be VP of Engineering and
      Technology at PIOS AG, a Mac Clone maker in the late
      90's.. we had the first 300MHz Mac on the market).
  • RE: Judge tosses Psystar's countersuit

    Their countersuit might well have been shaky. The real question is does APPLE have the right to sell a product as an entity in and of itself (Their operating system) and then insist that, even though you have purchased the software, you can only use it on machines you also buy from them. Frankly I would consider that a legitimate question. Like saying you can buy Firestone tires but you can only use them on vehicles you also buy from Firestone. Questionable at best.
    • Not nearly as cut and dry.....

      Firestone has the luxury of knowing that a tire will work
      very well on several different types of vehicles made by
      different brand names. Apple does not have that luxury
      and would have to except added costs and development
      time to make it's products work as its customers would
      want said to on others hardware. Now Apple has chosen a
      rather tight control to ensure a certain environment and to
      keeps costs down. Both goals are usually lauded by the
      public because they get a well made product that they can
      depend on. I would argue that many if not all of the
      "issues" that windows users have experienced over the
      years are due in large part to the more chaotic nature of
      the product and the hardware configurations it had to
      struggle to run on. It's just an alternative method that I
      for one prefer.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Re: nearly so cut an dried

        Apple certainly can reasonably say that they will not be responsible for tech support of the OS on equipment not made by them and it would certainly be under no obligation to make it work on Psystar's hardware.Any more than MS is under obligation to make its software work on any particular vendors hardware. It is of course up to Psystar to make hardware that will run the OS well if they expect to make any money. What right does Apple have to say that they can't do that? Can apple also tell me that I must buy a certain kind of desk to put their computer on? Can they tell me that I only hook up USB devices that they make? No none of that would be reasonable and I see no particular reason why they should be able to tell me what hardware I must use either. They are certainly not responsible if their software does not play well with X brand hardware, but if it does what right do they have to ell me that I can't use it anyway.
      • Apple

        Based on that, you're right.

        This explains why Mac's are always a couple of generations behind on core hardware, cost at least twice as much as comparable windows machines, use huge amounts of open source code without contributing equitably back to the Open Source Community, and have so few good business apps available. They don't have the programming chops and support staff to address the issues they would incur without a locked down architecture.

        If it weren't for their basing their operating system off of BSD, they'd still be pushing powerPC chips as State of the Art.
        • im sorry... but i cant resist

          A couple generations behind core hardware?
          -they were one of the first to adopt firewire, usb, EFI, SATA, LED screens, blah blah blah. FYI this is core hardware.
          I think you mean a couple generations behind in niche hardware. Like touch screens, hard-core gaming hardware, fingerprint scanners, card readers etc.

          Twice as much as equivalent Windows machine?
          -I'm sorry but the most you could say is 20-30% more. Maybe a bit more on high end machines.
          Every comparison I've seen has been like this: macbook with intel c2d 2.1ghz vs x brand with intel dual core 2 ghz. They then go on about prices differences, more ram blah blah blah. Without noting that: the other processor is actually a 2 year old processor that runs at maybe half the gigaflops of the latest intel c2d. Likewise the memory bandwidth is lower. As such, you can get more ram for less. etc. These aren't equivalent machines. Period.

          Apple does not contribute to the OSS community?
          WebKit(the best html rendering engine out there), LLVM(a more efficient compiler that may replace gcc in a few years), OpenStep, their darwin kernel is Open source, and a few of their current hpc projects are all open source, but im too lazy to look them up. Keep in mind these are projects that Apple sinks millions into and everyone can use them. Also consider: Apple's most important partner is Google. They both push for open standards in web, etc.

          They don't have the programming chops to what?
          Apple doesn't give a crap about you. Get over it. They don't want to take over the whole PC market. They want to sell to the high end users. Period. They're happy right now that they don't have to deal with the problems Microsoft has to.

          BSD, PPC?
          Apple started the transition to BSD in the late 90s and released the OS in 2001. That was how many years before the transition to x86/x64 architecture? 8 or 9 from the start of the transition? Yes it allowed them to port things more easily. And BSD has benefited for this. Stating if it wasnts is pointless because it is.
          • No... he's pretty much on target

            Yeah, Apple was first out with Firewire. They invented
            it -- and trademarked the name, in fact, which is why
            it's called i.Link on Sonys and "IEEE1394" most other
            places. They were not the first with USB... USB was
            out in Intel chipsets in the mid 90s, it just wasn't
            pushed on PCs. Apple has replaced ADB with USB, so
            they had to push for it, lacking any other
            keyboard/mouse interface.

            As for price... try nearly 3x. About a year ago, I
            bought an HP laptop (a dv9500 model): Intel Core 2 Duo
            2.4GHz processor T7700, HDD 16:10 17" screen, 240GB
            HDD, 2GB DDR2, HDMI, nVidia 8600M graphics, etc. It
            cost me $1280, directly from HP. The equivalent Mac
            cost $2995 (http://support.apple.com/kb/SP13),
            directly from Apple, and it was virtually the same
            computer. Ports-wise, the Mac had the advantage of
            Firewire 800 (the HP only IEEE1394a), but the HP had
            HDMI and VGA (vs DVI), full sized ExpressCard, remote
            control, better internal speakers, POTS modem,
            fingerprint scanner, dual 120GB drives vs. a single
            160GB, and a docking port. Apple just failed on price,
            they weren't close. Same graphics, CPU, memory, etc.
            Apple tripled the price just because they're Apple,
            and they know The MacFaithful have no alternative.
          • still.

            they were among the first to adopt USB as a standard(i wont go so far as to say the first).

            by the dv9500 you mean that $2300 computer that got bad reviews and recalls and you could get at 60% off most places? :P now you can get it for half what you got it then.

            not the same cpu. t7500 is an older overclocked(if you bought it at 2.4ghz) 65nm processor. the processor on the mac cost then a few hundred more.

            Most people don't care about having the latest CPU(although Apple changes the cpus on their high ends only twice a year or every 9 months I think). HPs on the other hand release the latest cpu on the ultra high end expensive model. which then goes down in price every few months when they release a new model. So you got a good deal. You do know that you can buy older mac models that got stuck in warehouses too right?