Psystar to Change Tactics and Sell Mac OS X-Ready Computers?

Computerworld reports on a motion filed in federal court yesterday by unauthorized Mac clone maker Psystar noting that it has reached a partial settlement with Apple over the company's copyright infringement case filed against Psystar in 2008.

The settlement, which requires Psystar to pay Apple an as-yet-unspecified amount of damages, would not be awarded until Psystar has exhausted all appeals.

"Psystar and Apple today entered into a partial settlement that is embodied in a stipulation that will be filed with the Court tomorrow," Psystar's motion of Monday began. "Psystar has agreed on certain amounts to be awarded as statutory damages on Apple's copyright claims in exchange for Apple's agreement not to execute on these awards until all appeals in this matter have been concluded. Moreover, Apple has agreed to voluntarily dismiss all its trademark, trade-dress, and state-law claims. This partial settlement eliminates the need for a trial and reduces the issues before this Court to the scope of any permanent injunction on Apple's copyright claims."

Apple last week requested a permanent injunction preventing Psystar from selling non-Apple computers with Mac OS X preinstalled. In its motion filed yesterday, however, Psystar argues that its Rebel EFI software released last month that allows consumers to perform their own OS X installation on Psystar's or other certified non-Apple hardware should not be included in any injunction awarded by the court.

By excluding Rebel EFI from any injunction, Psystar seems to be conceding Apple's copyright victory, and that it can live with a ban on preinstalling Snow Leopard. If that tactic works, Psystar's plan appears to be to shift the responsibility of installing Mac OS X onto customers. Psystar would presumably sell Rebel EFI to customers without a corresponding copy of Mac OS X, require those customers to obtain a copy of the operating system elsewhere, and then use the utility to install and run the purchased copy of Snow Leopard.

Psystar spelled out its argument for letting it continue to market Rebel EFI, and presumably Snow Leopard-ready computers that, with Rebel EFI's help, could be configured to run Mac OS X.

With Apple having already won a judgment against Psystar for copyright infringement, Psystar's tactic of shifting the burden of OS X installation to the customer appears to be its new primary strategy for attempting to remain in business. More information is scheduled to be filed with the court later today.

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