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Apple wins right to continue Hackintosh beating

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Erstwhile Apple clone-maker Psystar is trying to escape, but Apple won't let them.

Psystar, which announced its line of Mac clones just over a year ago, filed for bankruptcy this May in order to elude Apple's legal minions - but Cupertino is having none of it.

And neither is the judge. Last Friday, Judge Robert A. Mark of the US Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Florida signed an order allowing Apple to proceed in its copyright-infringement case against the Florida ex-Hackintosher.

Apple's intent is to pursue the case, win it, and make an example of Psystar if it decides to play Whac-a-Mole on Hackintoshers such as RussianMac, OpeniMac, and Quo Computer. And Apple must believe that it has legal logic on its side, or it wouldn't have filed the motion back in early June to have the case continue to judgment.

The case is about precedent, not money. Mark's ruling explicitly states that "Apple must seek further relief from this Court before executing any money judgment obtained in the Infringement Action." And Apple is reported to have said that it won't.

This latest order is just the most recent in the legal sniping between Apple and Psystar. Last July, Apple filed its copyright-infringement lawsuit against the Florida clonemaker. The following month, Psystar announced that it would file a countersuit alleging that Cupertino was engaging in improper restraint of trade under the US Sherman Antitrust Act and Clayton Antitrust Act.

In October, Apple filed a legal "In yo' face!" by requesting that the court dismiss Psystar's anti-trust complaint "with prejudice." A few weeks later, the court ordered the two feuding companies to take their tussle into private mediation.

But a judge dismissed Psystar's suit against Apple - although it did leave the Hackintosher an opening, saying that it could try again if it came up with a better argument.

Perhaps smelling a bit of blood in the water, Apple piled on. In December, it amended its complaint against Psystar, adding the charge that the Floridians had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by reverse-engineering protected Apple code.

That filing fortified the rumor mongers who were whispering about who might be funding Psystar's legal efforts - deep-pocket PC vendors were most often mentioned - when Apple mentioned mysterious third-party "John Does" as co-conspirators. Those Does, by the way, have yet to be identified.

Psystar got a bit of good news in February of this year when a judge allowed it to continue its legal action against Apple as long as it dropped its monopoly charges and focused instead solely on copyright issues.

This May, however, Psystar threw in the towel and filed for bankruptcy - but that didn't end the matter, as this most recent ruling that Apple's case can continue has proven.

It's been a sad and sordid saga - and it's not yet over. ®

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