Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property
  • Area(s) of Law: Copyright
  • Date Filed: 09-28-2011
  • Case #: 10-15113
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Schroeder
  • Full Text Opinion

COPYRIGHT; MISUSE (It is not misuse when a copyright holder limits the right to use their work.)

Apple Inc. (“Apple”) created Mac OS X software for Apple computers.  Psystar Corp. (“Psystar”) made computers and sold them with Mac OS X software loaded onto them.  Apple sued Psystar alleging copyright infringement of its Mac OS X software because Apple specifically limited the use of its Mac OS X software to Apple Computers.  The district court found that Apple had a valid copyright in the Mac OS X software and that Psystar had infringed Apple’s copyright by putting the Mac OS X software on Psystar’s computers that it sold.  Psystar appealed the district court’s decision and argued that Apple’s limitation on the copyright of Mac OS X software was a misuse of its copyright because the Apple was trying to control the Mac OS X software after it was sold.  Psystar argues that because it purchased retail versions of Mac OS X software, Apple’s copyright shouldn’t control where they put the software after they purchase it.  However, the Court of Appeals held that Apple was not misusing its license by placing a condition on the use of their software because other competitor’s can still create their own operating systems.  The Court of Appeals AFFIRMED judgment in favor of Apple.

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