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Thursday, September 24, 2009, 01:30 pm PT (04:30 pm ET)

Apple's motion to include Snow Leopard in Psystar case denied

After Apple allegedly changed its mind on whether to include Snow Leopard in an ongoing suit with Psystar, a U.S. District Court judge has denied the Mac maker's request.

In a new ruling issued Thursday, Judge William Alsup denied Apple's motion to re-open the case's discovery period, which has concluded, to include Snow Leopard. Alsup said that Apple "fought hard" to keep Snow Leopard out of the trial at first, only to later change its mind.

"Some discovery was permitted on Snow Leopard by Apple, but it was adamant that Snow Leopard was not relevant (due to its status as an unreleased product)," he wrote.

But after the discovery period in the trial ended, Psystar sued Apple in a separate case, requesting that the clone Mac maker be granted the ability to buy copies of the new operating system to install on non-sanctioned computers. Psystar requested an injunction in a Florida U.S. District Court, along with damages, due to Apple's "anticompetitive attempts to tie Mac OS X Snow Leopard to its Macintosh line of computers." Alsup hypothesized in his ruling that Apple was caught by surprise by Psystar's separate suit.

After Psystar filed its suit, Apple requested, in the California case with Alsup, to re-open discovery and reset the summary judgment timeline, a reverse from its original stance. Such a move would have likely aided Apple in having the Florida case transferred to the California court. But with Alsup's decision Thursday, that will not happen.

"If Snow Leopard was within the scope of its own complaint herein, as it now suggests, then Apple should have welcomed discovery theron rather than, as it did, object to discovery directed at Snow Leopard and effectively taking Snow Leopard out of the case," Alsup wrote. "Apple even chose when to release Snow Leopard and it chose to do so after all opportunity to take discovery on it had ended. The problem is largely one of Apple's own making."

Trial between Psystar and Apple is set to start in January 2010. Alsup said it would be "too prejudicial and too disruptive to re-open the case on the theory" that the Florida suit could move to California.

During the discovery period, Psystar deposed numerous Apple executives for the coming trial. The Florida-based company later accused Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, of being unprepared for his deposition.