by Tom Kaneshige

Pystar vs. Apple: Legal Battle Takes Bizarre New Turn

Aug 18, 20093 mins
IT Leadership

Embattled clone maker seeks legal advice from the blogosphere.

Did Psystar really ask readers of its blog last week to come up with “top ten” questions to ask Apple employees in its deposition? Have things become so desperate for Psystar that it’s turning to the blogosphere for legal advice?

Can the spectacle that is the Apple v. Psystar case get any more weird?

Psystar, the clone-maker embroiled in an ongoing lawsuit with Apple, has been accused of destroying evidence. It filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and reportedly has changed law firms because it wasn’t able to pay the first one.

Apple interviewed Psystar employees, and now Psystar plans to do the same to Apple engineers along with Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller. With these Apple employees on the legal deck, Psystar is evidently at a loss what to ask them. So the company asked the public for help in a blog post on its site.

Psystar began selling Mac clones in spring last year despite Apple’s licensing agreement that forbids anyone from installing OS X on devices other than Apple computers. Apple sued Psystar for copyright infringement. Psystar countersued, saying that Apple violated antitrust laws (and, later, misuse of copyright). And so on, and so on.

To be fair, Psystar has its share of supporters—many of whom dislike Apple’s controlling ways. But this latest twist, akin to a game show or David Letterman’s famous top ten list, is likely to make even the most arduous supporters shake their heads. At least David Letterman’s staff writes its own material.

In a blog post entitled A Taste of Their Own Medicine, Psystar writes: “… we’re taking the top ten most highly moderated questions for each person to be asked at their depositions. Please bear in mind that these must relate to the litigation at hand and if you feel this correlation is unclear, please elaborate to help us better understand your perspective and/or argument.”

You can post questions to the blog post or email them directly, Psystar says, “if you feel that the question would be better unleashed via surprise attack.”

Surprise attack? I’m surprised Psystar isn’t giving away prizes for best questions.

Psystar adds: “Bear in mind that we might not be able to release the answers to said questions until the conclusion of this litigation (re: Apple’s Super Secret Protective Order) but we are still allowed to use them amongst our legal counsel and in court.”

The unhappy conclusion to this year-and-a-half litigation—and to this sad saga—is still far off. The trial starts in January, 2010.

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