Score one for Psystar.
The unauthorized Mac clone maker has won the right to continue its countersuit against Apple. In an order signed last Friday, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar–whose antitrust complaint against Apple was tentatively dismissed last year–can refocus that complaint around copyright misuse. “Psystar may well have a legitimate interest in establishing misuse [of copyright] independent of Apple’s claims 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,” Alsup wrote in his order. “Moreover, if established, misuse would bar enforcement (for the period of misuse) not only as to defendants who are actually party to the challenged license but also as to potential defendants not themselves injured by the misuse who may have similar interests.”
The ruling is something of a setback for Apple (AAPL), which had argued that Psystar’s request to resubmit an amended counterclaim was a transparent “attempt to repackage its dismissed antitrust allegations under the guise of copyright misuse.” Because if Psystar does somehow manage to prove that Apple abused copyright laws, it could open up the market for Mac clones–or at least make it quite a bit more difficult for Apple to drop the hammer on other companies intent on peddling them.
Of course, if legal avenues fail it, Apple could easily hamstring clone makers in other ways. After all, it’s not incumbent on the company to ensure that its operating system works on non-Apple hardware, is it?