Judge gives nod to new Psystar countersuit against Apple

— 2:52 PM on February 9, 2009

Apple's legal battle against Psystar has always looked hopeless for the unlicensed Mac clone maker, and things only looked grimmer after a judge threw out Psystar's countersuit last November. However, the winds may be changing. Computerworld reports that the same judge will let Psystar go forward with an amended countersuit filed in December.

Instead of accusing Apple of breaking antitrust laws, the latest countersuit alleges that Apple "has stretched copyright laws by tying the Mac operating system to its hardware." U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup stated the following in his latest ruling:

Psystar may well have a legitimate interest in establishing misuse [of copyright] independent of Apple's claims against it -- for example, to clarify the risks it confronts by marketing the products at issue in this case or others it may wish to develop. . . . Moreover, if established, misuse would bar enforcement (for the period of misuse) not only as to defendants who are actually party to the challenged license but also as to potential defendants not themselves injured by the misuse who may have similar interests.

In other words, the ruling could affect not only Psystar, but also other firms who sell or plan to sell Mac clones—that's the way Computerworld understands it, anyway, and it sounds about right. A trial is reportedly scheduled to begin on November 9, although Alsup told Apple and Psystar to prepare "for trial and/or summary judgment."

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