Ninth Circuit Holds that Apple did not Engage in Copyright Misuse
By Laura Fishwick – Edited by Michael Hoven
Apple Inc. v. Psystar Corp., No. 10-15113 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2011)
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Northern District of California’s holding that Psystar infringed Apple’s federal copyrights, and vacated and remanded the district court’s grant of Apple’s motion to seal summary judgment papers. The district court had rejected Psystar’s defense of copyright misuse, in which Psystar had argued that Apple’s Software Licensing Agreement (“SLA”) requiring users to run Mac OS X only on Apple computers “impermissibly extend[ed] the reach of Apple’s copyright.”
The Ninth Circuit held that Apple did not engage in copyright misuse by restricting the use of its software to Apple computers because this restriction did not prevent other companies from developing competing products. The court upheld the district court’s grant of an injunction on the grounds that it did not abuse discretion, even though Psystar did not contest the ruling that the enjoined use of Apple’s software did in fact constitute infringement. Finally, the court vacated and remanded the district court’s sealing orders, finding that the district court did not adequately provide reasons underlying its decision given that there is a presumption in favor of access.
The Wall Street Journal provides an overview of the case and notes that Psystar has shut down its operations. Internet Cases criticizes the decision for reaffirming Apple’s long-standing policies of distributing software and hardware as a “closed ecosystem,” which limits third parties from creating valuable technologies in this space. (more…)