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Apple and Psystar enter out-of-court counseling

Judge lowers cone of silence on Mac clone scrap

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Before Apple and Psystar take their fight over Mac clones to court, the two must first attempt to work out their legal scrape with private mediation.

The companies have agreed to participate in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) under court orders, according to filings turned up by The Mac Observer.

The two have been exchanging legal filings since July, when Apple sued Psystar over copyright infringement for selling Mac OS X loaded on generic PCs.

Psystar returned fire in August by filing Sherman Antitrust Act complaints, accusing Apple of restricting its ability to trade and illegally monopolizing the market. Apple responded by asking the court to dismiss the monopoly complaint, and Psystar recently filed its argument to keep it.

They've agreed to hold their session by January 31, 2009.

ADR is non-binding mediation, allowing either party to reject the decision and request a trial if they don't like the outcome. The process is less formal — and more importantly for Psystar — less expensive than than official court proceedings.

The outcome, however, would remain private if an agreement is struck in the ADR process. That sort of secrecy should suit Apple just fine. In mediation, nobody can hear you scream.

But if Apple gets its way, Psystar's Mac clone business gets blasted from this plane of existence. That should make a ruling in Apple's favor pretty apparent.

Indeed, the best way to see if an out-of-court agreement is made is to keep checking Psystar's pulse. The company's still selling Mac clones as of today at least. ®

Update

Psystar counsel Colby Springer from the law firm Carr & Ferrell told El Reg this kind of mediation is not only procedural, but required in the Northern District of California court. He added Apple's motion for dismissal will need to be dealt with first before the mediation can take place.

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