Psystar has agreed to pay Apple an undisclosed amount

The thing that has kept Apple computers locked with a minimal aftermarket for upgrades is that Apple controls the hardware and the software of its computers. With Windows, the OS is separate from the hardware allowing enthusiast to build their own machines and any computer firm to install the OS on their machines as long as they pay.

Apple has a license agreement in place with its Mac OS X that prevents the OS from being installed on non-Apple hardware. That didn’t stop Psystar from unveiling its own Mac clones, which obviously didn’t sit well with Apple. Apple took Psystar to court and accused the company of peddling circumvention devices. Apple also maintained that Psystar was causing unquantifiable harm to its brand.

Despite the legal proceedings against it by Apple, Psystar in October began to offer its $50 hack called Renegade EFI -- the alleged circumvention device -- to allow OS X to run on PCs. Ultimately Apple won a summary judgment against Psystar when a judge ruled that Psystar was guilty of copyright and DCMA violations.

Psystar isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, but the company is getting the towel ready. Psystar and Apple have entered into a partial settlement to cease the sales of Mac clone computers. AppleInsider reports that Psystar filed a document with the courts on Monday revealing that it and Apple had entered a partial settlement that will be filed in the court Tuesday.

The agreement apparently covers the sales of all clone hardware with Mac OS X pre-installed. The sale of unauthorized machines with Mac OS X preinstalled was what prompted the original legal action against Psystar by Apple back in 2008. The settlement deal will have Psystar paying Apple an undisclosed amount and Apple would agree to drop the bulk of its case against Psystar.

The court filing reads, "Psystar has agreed on certain amounts to be awarded as statutory damages on Apple's copyright claims in exchange for Apple's agreement not to execute on these awards until all appeals in this matter have been concluded. Moreover, Apple has agreed to voluntarily dismiss all its trademark, trade-dress, and state-law claims. This partial settlement eliminates the need for a trial and reduces the issues before this Court to the scope of any permanent injunction on Apple's copyright claims."

Psystar still hopes that the court will not bar the sale of its Rebel EFI product. This is the software that allows the installation of OS X onto unauthorized machines. Psystar says the Rebel EFI software “has not been litigated in this case, that has not been the subject of discovery in this case, that is presently the subject of litigation in the Florida case, that is composed exclusively of Psystar software, that is not sold in conjunction with any hardware, and that is sold entirely apart from any copy of Mac OS X or any computer running Mac OS X."

The legal saga isn’t over yet. If the case is fully settled out of court, the odds of Psystar actually paying Apple any money are slim. Psystar filed for bankruptcy in May and ended up in Chapter 11. The full trial is set to start in January 2010 if it doesn’t settle before that date.

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