Apple, Inc. [AAPL] has filed suit against Psystar, maker of Mac clones. Originally called “OpenMac,” Psystar's “OpenComputer” sells for as low as $399, pre-installed with Mac OS X Leopard. Apple does not permit the installation of its operating system on non-Apple products. The Miami-based IT consulting company began selling their Mac clones in April under rather strange circumstances, including listing false addresses and being dropped by the company processing their credit-card orders. Some thought Psystar was just a hoax; others believed it was a dummy company set up by Apple. But the OpenComputer began shipping in April, benefiting from the hype and receiving generally positive reviews. OpenComputer’s initial sales exceeded company expectations. In June, Psystar began selling Xserve, an Apple-server


The suit, revealed Tuesday, was filed July 3rd in Cupertino, California, for violations against Apple’s shrink-wrap license and trademarks, as well as copyright infringement. According to CNET, Apple, “seeks any profits earned by Psystar from its Open Computer, triple damages for willful acts, a permanent injunction against the sale of the product, as well as recall of those units already sold.”

Psystar believes that Apple’s EULA is in violation of U.S. monopoly laws. The company has been vowing to fight Apple on this issue since the release of the OpenComputer. According to Colm MacKernan, director of Origin Ltd, an intellectual-property consulting firm in London, “Apple is in a tricky position. The core of its problem is that it sells OS X Leopard as a separate item from an Apple Computer ($129 on the Apple site.) This gives rise to an argument that Apple is engaging in “tying,” a practice that is often held illegal under many antitrust or competition laws, that involves requiring a purchaser (or licensee) to buy a product that purchaser may not want as a condition of obtaining the product it does want, i.e., if you want A, you must take B as well, or in this case if you want OS X you must buy an Apple computer.”

The case will begin October 22, 2008.

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Editor's update:

Found court documents:
- The CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:08−cv−03251−JL

By Mark Alvarez