Psystar plans to use antitrust defense against Apple

Attorneys for the makers of Mac OS X-compatible computers told reporters Tuesday they plan to argue that Apple's EULA violates provisions of the Sherman and Clayton antitrust laws.

Lead Psystar counsel Colby Springer of Carr & Ferrell said at a press conference this afternoon that his firm plans to raise questions of improperly tying Mac OS X to Apple-labeled hardware under the Sherman Antitrust Act, and claims of attempted monopoly and exclusive dealings under the Clayton Antitrust Act.

"We are alleging that [Apple's restrictions on Mac OS X are] anti-competitive and an unlawful restraint of trade," Springer told reporters in a press conference today.

Psystar's answer to Apple's complaint will be filed late Tuesday afternoon Pacific time. In it, Psystar plans to deny all allegations by Apple of copyright and trademark infringement and breach of contract, as Apple put forth in its lawsuit against Psystar last month.
Apple also claimed Psystar made modifications to the Mac OS code to allow it to run on Psystar's systems.

While some had reported that Psystar missed filing deadlines, Springer said that was not the case, and that Apple had agreed to extend the deadlines.

Springer took time to address both claims directly. He noted that Psystar does not make copies of the Mac OS to install on its machines. In fact, every copy installed is an individually purchased copy of the operating system from Apple or one of its authorized resellers. "There's no pirating going on," he responded.

On claims of code modification, Springer said that the company had not made any modifications to the operating system. Any techniques applied to make Mac OS run on Psystar, he said, can be found in already available, open source software.

Psystar will also seek unspecified damages as part of its counter-complaint, although it did not disclose a specific amount during the press conference. It will also ask the court to declare Apple's current EULA illegal.

Now, the ball is back in Apple's court. It will have 30 days to respond, or it could ask for an extension as Psystar did. A case management conference is scheduled for October 22, according to court documents.

Until then, it's "business as usual," according to Psystar president and co-founder Rudy Pedraza. While he said the company has seen some effect on OpenComputer sales as a result of the lawsuit, it was not as much of a factor as he had originally predicted. It is also apparently working on a new "mobile device," although Pedraza would not confirm or deny if it was a laptop or something else.

"Apple makes a good operating system," Pedraza said. "They would probably be happy to hear us saying that."

No one -- not Psystar's executives, and not its attorneys -- has said how Psystar plans to pay for what could potentially become a costly legal battle for such a small company.

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