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New German Mac Cloner Emerges As Psystar Battle Continues

A new company calling themselves PearC has been spotted selling a new line of PC’s with Apple’s Mac OS X operating system pre-installed. This comes fresh on the heels of an ongoing legal dispute between Apple and currently the biggest Mac cloner around, Psystar.

Psystar’s legal standing is by no means clear cut. The last we heard, Apple was awarded the right to dismiss Pystar’s counterclaims, which were based around anti-trust violations. However, now it seems that Psystar will in fact be allowed to make its next legal move while at the same time attempting to slam Apple with misusing copyrights and creating an unfair and unbalanced marketplace. Apple has in fact responded to such claims in the past, all but negating Psystar’s arguments.

In response to Psystar’s argument, Apple’s argument made clear of the fact that a “market comprised of a single brand of a product is neither legally nor factually plausible.” Judge William Alsup agreed, “Whether products are part of the same or different markets under antitrust law depends on whether consumers view those products as reasonable substitutes for each other and would switch among them in response to changes in relative prices,” he wrote. “The counterclaim itself explains that Mac OS performs the same functions as other operating systems,” he wrote. “The counterclaim admits that market studies indicate that, although Apple computers with Mac OS enjoy strong brand recognition and loyalty, they are not wholly lacking in competition.” — “Psystar also points to Apple’s extensive advertising campaigns,” he continued.

Even though Judge Alsup sides with Apple in their ability to file for dismissal. He disagrees with Apple’s claims that “copyright misuse” cannot be used as a counterclaim. Apple is saying that copyright misuse can only be used in defense. In the new court filing Alsup wrote, “This order is unconvinced, however, that misuse may never be asserted as a counterclaim for declaratory relief…” — “PsyStar may well have a legitimate interest in establishing misuse independent of Apple’s claim 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.”

While the internal logistics of Psystar’s claims remain a mystery, Judge Alsup has asked both companies to be prepared for a trial, which set to begin on November 9th. Psystar continues to sell its products unaffected by the potential legal repercussion.

Perhaps even more interesting is the emergence of another new Mac cloner going by the name of PearC (did they have to pick another type of fruit?). As ArsTechnica points out, there seems to be a bit of cloudiness around the EULA (End User License Agreement) in Germany.

Since the EULA is inside the box and users can’t see it, the argument will be that the parts about not installing OS X on non-Apple hardware are void. Even if that’s true, though, the legality would likely only apply to Germany, so everyone else would be out of luck.

Apple will most likely not take on each one of these Mac cloners that popup. However, keeping Mac OS X proprietary and making sure that others are not able to install and sell the system is extremely critical for Apple. As Psystar seems to be the biggest cloner around at the moment, Apple has entered a legal tango with them. The results of this lawsuit will most likely cast a shadow on what to expect from other Mac cloners out there.

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