Today Apple reached a deal with Mac clone maker Psystar ahead of a federal court case that could have granted Apple an injunction forbidding Psystar from preinstalling Apple’s OS X software on its products. However, the settlement was very specific to what it actually settled, which means the companies will continue the legal wrangling.
Psystar is paying Apple $2.7M in damages to avoid a trial. That takes the immediate threat of a federal injunction off the table, but the overarching dispute remains. It is also likely that Psystar, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, won’t pay the settlement until its appeals have been exhausted.
I have not seen the terms of the agreement, and wonder whether any of the claims were dismissed without prejudice. Apple charged Pystar of breach of contract, copyright infringement, and violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act; Psystar made counterclaims of copyright misuse and unenforceability.
“It looks like it isn’t really a settlement as much as a narrowing of the issues in dispute,” said Mark A. Lemley, director of Stanford Law School’s Program in Law, Science, and Technology, in reference to today’s agreement. “The issues that are outstanding are (1) the core legal issues, which are on appeal, and (2) whether the injunction would apply to future Psystar products,” he added in a follow up e-mail.
Many issues (and the “what is the point” question) remained unsettled, and will be weighed by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Apple has also not yet taken any action against Psystar’s Rebel EFI software, which allows end users to install copies of OS X on unauthorized generic hardware.
This convoluted, bumpy ride will continue. If you want a Mac, buy it from Apple, or, if so inclined, check in with the Hackintosh community.