Psystar Case Comes to a Close as U.S. Supreme Court Declines Review

More than four years after Psystar challenged Apple by first selling $399 unauthorized Mac clones and later shifting tactics to offer software supporting installation of Mac OS X Snow Leopard on PCs, the dispute between the two companies has finally reached its conclusion. As noted by CNET, Psystar's persistent legal appeals have now been exhausted as the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review an appellate court ruling from last September upholding a ban on Psystar's sales of Mac clones.

Following a rejection of Psystar's appeal to that decision in September, the company's lawyers vowed to take it up to the Supreme Court. "This is far from over," K.A.D. Camara of Houston law firm Camara & Sibley LLP told Computerworld in an interview. The company kept to its word, and filed for a review from the Supreme Court on December 27, 2011.

"We are sad," Camara told CNET by e-mail this evening. "I'm sure that the Supreme Court will take a case on this important issue eventually."

Psystar's persistence that saw the company press the issue with Apple as far as the courts would allow led Apple to suggest a potential conspiracy, questioning why a small company would be so bold in the face of Apple's legal action and how it could have financed the expensive court battles. No such conspiracy was ever revealed, however, with Psystar's financial backing remaining something of a mystery.

psystar openmac
Psystar's original "OpenMac" Mac clone, quickly rebranded "Open Computer" to skirt Apple's trademarks

While Apple was quick to file suit against Psystar in July 2008 and an initial injunction against Psystar effectively shut down the company in December 2009, the court cases continued to play out over an additional period of nearly two and half years. Psystar attempted to fund its legal defense during some of that time by soliciting donations and selling T-shirts, and did somehow manage to secure enough funding to support filing several more appeals taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Top Rated Comments

cvaldes Avatar
113 months ago
Since you do not seem to understand this basic point, I will mention it right here:

There are functional clones and there are design clones.

The Psystar machine was a Mac clone in function, although it did not closely resemble the Mac in design. Psystar managed to cobble together commodity PC components and find workarounds in the Mac OS X installation process to get their boxes to run. The End User License Agreement for OS X prohibits the use of OS X on anything by a computer manufactured by Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer Inc.).

By creating an environment which allowed OS X to run on a third-party system, they basically created a Mac clone in function.

That's why Apple won the initial lawsuit. It's also why the appellate court upheld the initial ruling. SCOTUS probably found that the appellate court had adequately addressed the issue and is therefore not interested in re-examining the case.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chirpie Avatar
113 months ago

it's the new Mac pro! wait a minute...


For half of a second, my brain saw a tower image as the page loaded. I was temporarily excited that we had some new Mac Pro news... and then, disappointment.

I can't help it. Their tower is still the apple product I use the most. By a sizable margin.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
charlieegan3 Avatar
113 months ago
it's the new Mac pro! wait a minute...
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shaunp Avatar
113 months ago
It would be interesting to know how they ran. Personally I find Apple's current desktop lineup a bit limited. I want something between the mini and the Pro, and the iMac just doesn't cut it as I don't want an all in one. If Apple made such a machine I would buy it.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WoFat Avatar
113 months ago
I'm a Cheap Bastard, Too

Yeah, baby. I buy EVERYTHING on price alone and I would have bought one of these ugly puppies too. Priced low enough I could give one to each of my 11 kids that were the end result of buying the cheapest condoms.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
InuNacho Avatar
113 months ago

Yeah, the 700-800 (IIRC) computers that Psystar sold really proves a lot. :rolleyes:


It proves people want a Mac desktop but don't want the overly expensive un-upradable Mini, the giant glass iMac or the $2,500 entry level Pro.

Not necessarily lower end, really. Nothing would make me happier than a mini tower with the same specs as the mid-higher end iMacs.

Why does Apple hate PCI slots? :(


A mini tower or at least a Pro that didn't break the bank for prosumers or someone that just wants expandability. What we all want is the old Power Mac G4 pricing and set up. Cheap lower specced single CPUs and more expensive dual CPUs.

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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