Judge dismisses Psystar antitrust lawsuit against Apple

Judge William Alsup dismissed a Psystar lawsuit against Apple alleging the Cupertino, Calif. company violated federal and state antitrust laws.

Psystar’s counterclaim accused Apple of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, in particular for tying Mac OS X to its own hardware in the end-user licensing agreement (EULA). Psystar contends that because the EULA bars users from installing the OS on non-Apple hardware, it’s an unlawful restraint of trade.

However, in his ruling Judge Alsup found that Psystar’s claims did not meet the requirements to find in favor or an antitrust claim.

“Indeed, Psystar’s allegations are internally contradictory. Psystar alleges that Mac OS is, by definition, an independent and unique market. That is, Mac OS, by definition, admits no reasonable substitutes,” Judge Alsup wrote in his ruling. “Psystar further avers, however, that Apple engages in the alleged anti-competitive conduct “in order to protect its valuable monopoly in the Mac OS market and, by extension, Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware Systems from potential competitive threats,” and that Apple’s “unreasonable restraints on trade allow APPLE to maintain its monopoly position with respect to the Mac OS and Apple-Labeled Computer Hardware Systems submarket.”

Psystar has 20 days to amend the complaint and argue its case before the judge.

Psystar filed its countersuit in response to a lawsuit from Apple claiming that Psystar violated its copyrights and licensing agreement when it sold a computer with Mac OS X installed on it. Apple’s end-user licensing agreement forbids Mac OS X from being installed on non-Apple hardware.

A trial date of November 9, 2009 was set earlier this month. Apple and Psytar are currently in mediation on the case, a process the court expects to be concluded by the end of January. The two sides will have until August 20, 2009 to file a motion for summary judgment.

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