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German clone maker "not afraid" of Apple

The makers of the PearC brand of Mac clones say they're standing on solid legal ground in Germany and will withstand legal action from Apple.

A spokesman for HyperMegaNet UG, which sells the Intel-powered towers under the PearC brand with a copy of Mac OS X installed, said while the company hasn't heard from Apple Legal yet it is "awaiting some soon."

"First, we try to settle with Apple out of court," Dirk Bloessl told Computerworld in an e-mail. "But if necessary, we are not afraid of going to court with Apple."

On PearC's website, the FAQ section includes the question "Is the PearC legal?" The answer reads, "Yes. According to european laws Apples EULA is void."

The saber-rattling from HyperMegaNet comes while Apple and Florida-based cloner Psystar are engaged in a similar dispute over copyright and competition, but according to the German company, PearC does not violate Apple's copyright or EULA there.

"The German law says explicit[ly], that restrictions made after buying a product are not valid," Bloessl said. "So, because Apple's EULA can [only] be first read after buying and starting the setup, they are invalid in Germany."

That is, since the system has already been paid for and turned on before the End User License Agreement ever appears, Apple can't make "restrictions" on the use of the operating system, HyperMegaNet argues.

According to the clone maker's website, the PearC Starter "combines good performance with an appropriate power drain" for 599 euros, or roughly $773. The base configuration ships with a 2.5GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core, 250GB hard drive, 2GB of 1066MHz DDR2 memory, a 256MB GeForce 7200GS graphics card from NVIDIA, three FireWire 400 ports, and ten USB 2.0 ports.

Meanwhile, the PearC Advanced (799 euros or $1030) is the "allround computer" that ships with a 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 500GB hard drive, 4GB of memory, a 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400GS graphics card, and wireless. Available upgrade options include a Core 2 Quad processor, 1TB hard drive, 8GB of memory, a 1024GB NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX Plus, a second hard drive up to 1TB that can be preinstalled with Vista Home Premium, XP Professional, or Vista Ultimate, and a writable Blu-Ray drive.

The site offers to ship to Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, and the U.K.

Back in the United States, a case that began in July recently took a few steps forward with Psystar's filing of an amended complaint late last week.

However, the trial isn't expected to start for another nine months.