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Apple Files a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit against Virtualization Software Company Corellium

1 cover Copyright Infringement


While it's actually rare to read about Apple suing a company, today Apple has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against virtualization software company Corellium.  According to Apple's opening line in their complaint before the court, "This is a straightforward case of infringement of highly valuable copyrighted works." 


Apple's introductory statement continues by stating that "Corellium’s business is based entirely on commercializing the illegal replication of the copyrighted operating system and applications that run on Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices.  The product Corellium offers is a "virtual" version of Apple mobile hardware products, accessible to anyone with a web browser.  Specifically, Corellium serves up what it touts as a perfect digital facsimile of a broad range of Apple’s market-leading devices—recreating with fastidious attention to detail not just the way the operating system and applications appear visually to bona fide purchasers, but also the underlying computer code.  Corellium does so with no license or permission from Apple.  


Corellium’s conduct plainly infringes Apple’s copyrights.  This is not a case in which it is questionable or unclear whether the defendant reproduced the rights-owner’s works, or more subtly, whether particular portions of the works that the defendant took are ultimately protected by federal copyright law. Instead, Corellium has simply copied everything: the code, the graphical user interface, the icons—all of it, in exacting detail.  


Corellium explicitly markets its product as one that allows the creation of "virtual" Apple devices.  For a million dollars a year, Corellium will even deliver a “private” installation of its product to any buyer.  There is no basis for Corellium to be selling a product that allows the creation of avowedly perfect replicas of Apple’s devices to anyone willing to pay.


Although Corellium paints itself as providing a research tool for those trying to discover security vulnerabilities and other flaws in Apple’s software, Corellium’s true goal is profiting off its blatant infringement.  Far from assisting in fixing vulnerabilities, Corellium encourages its users to sell any discovered information on the open market to the highest bidder. 


Apple strongly supports good-faith security research on its platforms, and has never pursued legal action against a security researcher.  Not only does Apple publicly credit researchers for reporting vulnerabilities, it has created several programs to facilitate such research activity so that potential security flaws can be identified and corrected.  Apple’s programs include providing as much as $1 million per report through “bug bounty” programs. Apple has also announced that it will provide custom versions of the iPhone to legitimate security researchers to allow them to conduct research on Apple devices and software.  These efforts recognize the critical role that members of the security research community play in Apple’s efforts to ensure its devices contain the most secure software and systems available. 


The purpose of this lawsuit is not to encumber good-faith security research, but to bring an end to Corellium’s unlawful commercialization of Apple’s valuable copyrighted works.  Accordingly, Apple respectfully seeks an injunction, along with the other remedies described below, to stop Corellium’s acts of naked copyright infringement."


Apple Sues Corellium on Three Counts


Count 1: Direct Federal Copyright Infringement (Computer Programs)

Count 2: Direct Federal Copyright Infringement (Graphical User Interface Elements)

Count 3: Contributory Federal Copyright Infringement


For more details in this patent infringement case, review the full formal complaint filed with the court below, courtesy of Patently Apple.


   Apple v Corellium  by Patently Apple's Jack Purcher on Scribd



10.4F - Patently LegalNotice: Patently Apple presents only a brief summary of patent infringement lawsuits which are part of the public record for journalistic news purposes. A lawyer should be consulted for in-depth analysis.


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