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Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 03:30 pm PT (06:30 pm ET)

Apple has Psystar's lawsuit stay lifted; Palm Pre unhurt by iPhone

Psystar's hopes of stalling Apple's lawsuit have crumbled as the Mac maker has successfully overturned the court stay on its case. At the same time, Apple's legal hammer has been falling on iTunes gift card fraud, and the Palm Pre continues to sell out even with the iPhone 3GS threatening to pull customers away.

Stay lifted in Apple lawsuit against Psystar

Apple's motion to lift the stay in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Psystar has succeeded in a Southern District of Florida bankruptcy court.

Granted on Friday of last week, the relief overturns the automatic freeze on any court proceedings that followed when Psystar filed for Chapter 11 last month and will force Psystar to defend itself even as it tries to reorganize its business. While Psystar has maintained that Apple is trying to drive it out of the market before it can defend itself, Apple has accused the Florida clone builder of using bankruptcy to avoid facing its legal reckoning. It has also positioned the lawsuit as 'helping' Psystar by giving it a way to emerge from bankruptcy without promptly having to resume a legal defense it might lose.

Even with the short-term win, however, Apple won't have a complete victory in the lawsuit. The bankruptcy court reminded the California firm that it has to ask permission from the court before it can collect any damages from Psystar as long as the company is still insolvent.

Apple taking action against users of fraudulent iTunes cards

Those that gave into buying illegitimately made iTunes cards, whether aware of their authenticity or not, are finding out the hard way through a new Apple crackdown on the practice.

Various reports aggregated by PC World have pointed to Apple permanently disabling the accounts of those it catches using the cards, which often cost well below the value of the number of songs they buy. The ban not only prevents shoppers from buying new songs but disables access to any songs they've bought that are still using FairPlay copy protection from before the switch to DRM-free music on iTunes.

Apple says its terms of service for the iTunes Store explicitly warn against fake iTunes gift cards or other rewards and warns those users in advance so that any unwitting or experimental use doesn't lock customers out of their collections. Customers who've had their accounts shut down were those that should have known better, company spokesman Jason Roth implies.

To avoid this level of fraud, shoppers are asked to not only watch out for too-good-to-be-true discounts on cards but to only buy cards from within their own countries but, if they can, to insist on receiving a physical copy of the card in question.

Palm Pre still selling out despite iPhone

While doubts have existed that Palm would continue enjoying brisk sales of its multi-touch Pre smartphone after the unveiling of this year's iPhones — which occurred just two days after the Pre's launch in the US — Sprint's chief finance officer Bob Brust has revealed that sales are still strong and that there are continued shortages even as Palm gets a better grip on its supplies.

"We still have a backlog of subscribers but it's not unmanageable and we get shipments every week," Brust said during an investor's conference, adding that Sprint was "catching up."

Analysts had originally predicted that about 50,000 Palm Pres were sold on its launch weekend early this month, or just one twentieth Apple's 1 million iPhone 3GS units sold two weeks later. Further estimates, however, had Sprint doubling its total sales count in less than a week.

The performance is such that the carrier's CFO says he hasn't seen "any big change" since the 3GS was released and believes that the Pre is both drawing in converts from rivals as well as preventing existing customers from jumping ship. Sprint sorely needs a halo device like the Pre as it has continued to lose millions of customers due to a combination of its poor reputation for customer service and a lackluster collection of handsets.