Despite Apple and Psystar having discussed a potential settlement in their drawn-out battle, the agreement was dependent upon the outcome of Apple’s motion for a permanent injunction. Yesterday, the California U.S. District Court responsible for ruling in the matter issued its decision, and the outcome is not favorable for the Mac clone maker.
Apple, however, will be very pleased with the ruling. The court granted Apple’s request for a permanent injunction, barring future sales of any machines with OS X pre-installed. It also prohibits Psystar from trying to get around Apple’s technological countermeasures put in place to prevent illegal copying and use of OS X, and from helping others try to do so.
While it sounds like this injunction might extend to the Rebel EFI software that Psystar has been selling to help users put OS X on machines themselves, it isn’t expressly forbidden. Judge William Alsup warns, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean Psystar is in the clear. Instead, he emphasizes the risks inherent in continuing to sell Rebel EFI, as reported by All Things Digital:
Rebel EFI will not be expressly excluded from the terms of the injunction. It should be clear, however, that this ruling is without prejudice to Psystar bringing a new motion before the undersigned that includes real details about Rebel EFI, and opening itself up to formal discovery thereon. This would serve the purpose — akin to a post-injunction motion vetting a “design-around” in a patent action — of potentially vetting (or not vetting) a product like Rebel EFI under this order’s decree. Moreover, Psystar may raise in such a motion any defenses it believes should apply to the factual circumstances of its new product, such as the 17 U.S.C. 117 defense raised in its opposition and at oral argument. Whether such a defense would be successful on the merits, or face preclusion or other hurdles, this order cannot predict. What is certain, however, is that until such a motion is brought, Psystar will be selling Rebel EFI at its peril, and risks finding itself held in contempt if its new venture falls within the scope of the injunction.
The injunction takes effect immediately, but Psystar has been given until Dec. 31 at the latest to cease all of its sales operations. That’s an outside limit, though, and the judge told the company to stop within the hour if at all possible.
I’m glad this thing is basically over. While I’m not sure I agree with the degree to which OS X is a closed system, all Psystar really proved was that once you take quality control and attention to detail out of the hands of Apple, things rapidly start to go downhill. Despite recent problems, it’d be a shame to see what tends to be the much more reliable Mac experience go the way of the PC, with its HPs, Compaqs, and low-end Acers.