Psystar Destroyed Evidence, Apple Claims

Clone maker accused of erasing Mac OS source code modified to run on third-party hardware.
Apple is claiming that Psystar purposely destroyed evidence relating to Apple's ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit against the Florida-based Mac clone manufacturer.

"Specifically, Psystar has overwritten—i.e., erased—infringing versions of the software code used on computers sold to its customers," Apple alleged in court papers filed Friday in U.S. District Court for Northern California.

"Psystar's failure to preserve and produce this clearly relevant evidence violates both the Federal Rules and this Court's Supplemental Order governing discovery," Apple said in a partially redacted document.

Apple sued Psystar for copyright infringement last year after discovering that the small company, which operates from a non-descript light industrial park near Miami, was selling unauthorized Mac clones over the Internet.

Faced with mounting legal fees and unpaid taxes, Psystar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. Psystar said it owes more than $250,000 to various creditors, including its former attorneys.

The company, however, appears to be continuing operations despite the bankruptcy filing and Apple's lawsuit.

Apple claimed in Friday's filing that Psystar intentionally deleted computer source code that would have proven that it modified the Mac OS to run on non-Apple hardware—a violation of Apple's copyrights. "Pystar has erased prior versions of its software that Apple's experts independently have found on defendant's computers," Apple said in the document.

"Psystar has not complied with its obligations and instead has destroyed evidence of its willful infringement," Apple continued. Apple listed in the document specific examples of code that it believes Psystar erased but the information was redacted from the court filing.

Apple asked the court to order Psystar to either produce the missing code or admit that it was intentionally destroyed, a move that could lead to trial sanctions against the clone maker.

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