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Apple loses bid to seal trade secrets in Psystar suit

US federal District Judge William Alsup has denied Apple's effort to seal information related to its copyright infringement case against Psystar, ruling that it is not a protectable "trade secret" because it has already been widely published.

Apple attempted to seal information related to the Psystar case as a "trade secret," likely to prevent others from learning how to modify the company's Mac OS X software to enable it to run on unauthorized hardware.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Judge Alsup ruled that the information Apple sought to protect could not be given trade secret protection because "much of it" is already "publicly available by examining the software itself," already published online, or available in print.

Apple originally sued Psystar in mid 2008 after it began selling a $400 PC it advertised as the "OpenMac," an unauthorized Mac clone running the company's Mac OS X software in infringement of Apple's licensing terms.

Two months later, the company responded with a counterclaim which alleged that Apple had used its "monopoly position" as the manufacturer of Mac computers to cause restraint of trade, unfair competition, and other violations of antitrust law.

After 16 months of litigation, in November 2009 Judge Alsup ruled in a summary judgment that Psystar had infringed on Apple's copyrights by modifying and redistributing its software. He also dismissed Psystar's claims.

Psystar then agreed to pay Apple $2.7 million in damages and attorney fees in exchange for Apple dropping its remaining claims involving trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, trademark dilution, state unfair competition, and common law unfair competition.

The judge subsequently issued a permanent injunction barring Psystar from selling hardware with Apple's operating system. Psystar filed to appeal the injunction last January.

After another nine months. Psystar lost its appeal in September when Judge Mary Schroeder ruled in favor of Apple in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.