In the midst of the Apple/Psystar litigation in California, Psystar took the liberty this past August of filing a similar case in Florida which sought permission from the court to allow it to sell copies of Snow Leopard on non-Apple hardware. Now that Apple has already won its motion for Summary Judgment in California and is already moving on to the damages phase, it can now turn its attention to the Florida case.
Apple yesterday responded to Psystar’s Florida complaint with a motion seeking to either dismiss the case for improper venue or to have the case transferred to the U.S. District Court in California, where Apple writes that the court is “already thoroughly familiar with the parties, the facts, the technology and the legal issues presented by the instant action.”
Apple’s motion cuts to the chase and immediately labels Psystar’s Florida complaint as a blatant attempt to re-litigate the same issues already raised and ruled upon by Judge Alsup in California.
Apple writes that “this case is the inseparable twin of the California action, as the legal claims and issues, the technology, the parties, and most of the facts are virtually identical.”
First, Apple writes that the Mac OS X technology at issue in both cases is “substantially the same.” Second, Apple writes that the technological protection measures used to prevent OS X from running on non-Apple hardware are the same. And third, Apple writes that the license agreements at issue in both cases are almost identical in that they both restrict the use of OS X to Apple computers.
Moreover, in the Florida case, Psystar once again tries to paint Apple as running afoul of anti-trust laws as a result of its “monopoly” in the OS X market – despite the fact that Judge Alsup already dismissed such a theory months ago for lacking any sort of legal basis. Psystar also raises a number of defenses in the Florida case which were subsequently found by Judge Alsup as inadequate to escape liability. “There is no reason why these legal determinations should be revisited by another court,” Apple writes, “and Psystar should not be permitted to seize upon Apple’s release of a new version of Mac OS X as an opportunity to forum shop.”
As we’ve mentioned before, if Psystar’s Florida action is allowed to persist, it will essentially have a free hand to infringe on Apple’s copyrights anytime Apple issues a major OS X release. It goes without saying that such a scenario would be an utter waste of Court resources.
Under these circumstances, to proceed with duplicative lawsuits would be a waste of the Court’s and the parties’ resources. There is no compelling reason for two intellectual property actions to proceed in two different federal courts 3,000 miles apart, between the same parties, raising the same issues – many of which have already been decided in the California Action. Indeed, having two actions addressing the same issues would only serve to delay final determination of the parties’ dispute and could lead to inconsistent results.
That being the case, Apple requests that the Florida court either consolidate the two cases in California or dismiss the case entirely for improper venue. Legally, when two cases are filed in different Federal Districts, and involve the same parties and substantially similar issues, the first-to-file rule allows the court where the case was filed last to refuse to hear it. As Apple mentioned above, this rule serves to avoid conflicting rulings.
Apple concludes that Psystar’s lawsuit is an egregious example of forum-shopping, and was only filed as a means to “delay resolution of any dispute regarding Snow Leopard and to establish a foothold in a different forum in case the California Action went poorly for Psystar.”
All told, it seems that the walls are finally caving in on Psystar. It’s legal arguments were utterly demolished in the California case, and its attempt to differentiate the Florida litigation from the one lacks any semblance of legal merit. Don’t be surprised if Apple’s ongoing saga with Psystar comes to an end very, very soon.