There’s news in the Apple vs. Psystar saga, and even though I know I promised not to report on this for a while, this news is a pretty important development, and we’re more than two weeks down the road anyway. As you all know, Psystar filed a second lawsuit concerning specifically Snow Leopard in Florida, and Apple motioned to have the case combined with the Apple vs. Psystar case running in California, claiming there is no difference between the two. Judge Alsup has denied this request.
Just to make sure we all understand each other: there are currently two cases running between Apple and clone-maker Psystar. The original one is the case started by Apple in California, and the other one is another lawsuit Psystar filed recently in the state of Florida. Whereas the former deals with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the latter handles Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
Apple sought to have the two cases combined, because according to Apple, they are about one and the same subject. Apple claimed that Snow Leopard fell within the scope of the original California lawsuit, and as such, combining the cases and reopening the discovery phase was desirable for the Cupertino company.
Judge William Alsup (of the California case) has denied this request. Alsup has a rather ironic reasoning: during the course of the California case, Apple specifically prevented Snow Leopard from being part of the case, probably because the company was afraid any details about it may leak out to the press. According to Alsup, Apple cannot now suddenly claim that Snow Leopard was within the scope of the lawsuit all along.
“If Snow Leopard was within the scope of its own complaint herein, as it now suggests, then Apple should have welcomed discovery thereon rather than, as it did, object to discovery directed at Snow Leopard and effectively taking Snow Leopard out of the case,” Judge Alsup writes, “The problem is one largely of Apple’s own making.”
Judge Alsup therefore denies the motion. As additional reasons, Judge Alsup states that the trial date is now too close (January 2010) to re-open discovery and start all over again. “Now that the discovery period has closed, we are well into the summary
judgment stage,” Alsup writes, “Trial is looming early next year. It would now be too prejudicial and too disruptive to re-open the case on the theory that maybe the other action will come here too.”
The Judge does make clear, however, that Judge William Hoeveler, of the Florida case, may still decide that a transfer is in order.
This is an important development, because it means that for now, Apple and Psystar will be battling it out on two fronts, with two different judges. Leopard and Snow Leopard will now be treated as two different products in two different lawsuits.