or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Apple loses bid to seal trade secrets in Psystar suit
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple loses bid to seal trade secrets in Psystar suit

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
US federal District Judge William Alsup has denied Apple's effort to seal information related to its copyright infringement case against Psystar, ruling that it is not a protectable "trade secret" because it has already been widely published.

Apple attempted to seal information related to the Psystar case as a "trade secret," likely to prevent others from learning how to modify the company's Mac OS X software to enable it to run on unauthorized hardware.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Judge Alsup ruled that the information Apple sought to protect could not be given trade secret protection because "much of it" is already "publicly available by examining the software itself," already published online, or available in print.

Apple originally sued Psystar in mid 2008 after it began selling a $400 PC it advertised as the "OpenMac," an unauthorized Mac clone running the company's Mac OS X software in infringement of Apple's licensing terms.



Two months later, the company responded with a counterclaim which alleged that Apple had used its "monopoly position" as the manufacturer of Mac computers to cause restraint of trade, unfair competition, and other violations of antitrust law.

After 16 months of litigation, in November 2009 Judge Alsup ruled in a summary judgment that Psystar had infringed on Apple's copyrights by modifying and redistributing its software. He also dismissed Psystar's claims.

Psystar then agreed to pay Apple $2.7 million in damages and attorney fees in exchange for Apple dropping its remaining claims involving trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, state unfair competition, and common law unfair competition.

The judge subsequently issued a permanent injunction barring Psystar from selling hardware with Apple's operating system. Psystar filed to appeal the injunction last January.

After another nine months. Psystar lost its appeal in September when Judge Mary Schroeder ruled in favor of Apple in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
post #2 of 9
Wait, why'd they lose? Oh, because the pirates have already cracked it. I see. So Apple WON the suit that says you can't modify and redistribute OS X, but LOST the suit that controls the means by which you modify and redistribute OS X.

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #3 of 9
Meh. This is largely irrelevant to consumers.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #4 of 9
These judges need to get their heads out of their asses! Trade secrets are trade secrets. Period. It doesn't matter if someone has already breached them, they are still trade secrets.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to a report by Bloomberg, Judge Alsup ruled that the information Apple sought to protect could not be given trade secret protection because "much of it" is already "publicly available by examining the software itself," already published online, or available in print.

Just because someone cracks the HDCP Master Key and publishes it online doesn't mean the judicial system has the right to publish a guide on how to decode Blu-Ray encryption. While it's true that there are guides and software online for running OS X on standard PCs, they shouldn't be publishing information that's not supposed to be in the public domain in the first place.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

These judges need to get their heads out of their asses! Trade secrets are trade secrets. Period. It doesn't matter if someone has already breached them, they are still trade secrets.

Under the Uniform Trade Secret Act, of which California is a voluntary participant, you are incorrect. As soon as the secret has become readily ascertainable by proper means, it ceases to fit the statutory definition of a trade secret, and it is therefore no longer subject to statutory protection.

"Proper means" has further been defined to include information that has been disclosed as a result of reverse-engineering.

If Apple wants to tackle the issue of any alleged impropriety in the way in which the information made it into the open in the first place, then they can bring up misappropriation charges against the individual reverse engineers who derived the information in the first place.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

"Proper means" has further been defined to include information that has been disclosed as a result of reverse-engineering.

So you can steal and hack trade secrets all you want. As long as you actually manage to do it, it's legal.



You don't happen to see anything WRONG with that picture?!

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
Reply
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

These judges need to get their heads out of their asses! Trade secrets are trade secrets. Period. It doesn't matter if someone has already breached them, they are still trade secrets.

Established law is what you want it to be rather than what it is?
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So you can steal and hack trade secrets all you want.

Not at all. You can be charged with illegally for misappropriating trade secrets by many improper means.

However, the law states, in several places including the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, that reverse-engineering is not, in itself, an infringement of any intellectual property rights. No "piracy", or "theft", or whatever other word you may want to use.

If the individuals who actually performed the reverse engineering are later proved to have used methods that are not permitted to obtain their results (including, but not limited to, bribery, extortion, espionage, or wilful leaking of documents provided to them under an NDA) then they absolutely deserve to be punished.

Quote:
... As long as you actually manage to do it, it's legal.



You don't happen to see anything WRONG with that picture?!

I'm not trying to argue what's right and wrong morally. I'm just pointing out that the judge appears to have correctly followed the currently accepted legal definition, in the state of California, of what constitutes a "trade secret" for the purposes of sealing court records.

Somebody else in this thread was trying to scold the judge, saying something along the lines of (paraphrasing) "Trade secrets are trade secrets (no matter what)". This person was probably spurred on by a common dislike for so-called activist judges who are reputed to make up the law as they go. In this case, the judge wasn't making new law -- quite the opposite, in fact; he was simply applying the black and white test of an established law, exactly as it was enacted by elected officials. Don't like it? Convince you elected lawmakers to revise the statutes. I suspect that the lawmakers had valid reasons for deliberately including exemptions for reverse-engineering; your challenge will be to convince them that those reasons are not justified.

In any event, prior judgments in this case have already clearly established the fact that making use of these trade secrets to actually produce and sell Mac clones based upon modified copies of Apple's copyrighted software, without permission, is still an illegal violation of Apple's copyright, and you can and will be shut down if you try to do so on a scale large enough to be noticed.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Current Mac Hardware
AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Current Mac Hardware › Apple loses bid to seal trade secrets in Psystar suit