Apple has lost its copyright claim against a Florida company, Corellium, that makes “virtual iPhones” used by security researchers to test for vulnerabilities in its systems, Bloomberg reported.
Apple said the other company copied its operating system and graphical user interface, along with other aspects of the iPhone, Bloomberg reported. According to Apple, Corellium had acted as if it would help discovering iPhone bugs in the operating system, but instead sold the information to the highest bidder.
The actions Corellium took, according to Bloomberg, were an exception to copyright law because the company created a “new, virtual platform for iOS and adds capabilities not available on Apple’s iOS devices,” a Tuesday (Dec. 29) ruling by West Palm Beach District Court Judge Rodney Smith said.
Corellium’s customers, it said, are government agencies, financial institutions and security researchers, per Bloomberg. Apple, Corellium said, attempted to buy the firm. When that didn’t work, Apple sued, Corellium said.
“There is evidence in the record to support Corellium’s position that its product is intended for security research and, as Apple concedes, can be used for security research,” the judge said, according to Bloomberg. “Further, Apple itself would have used the product for internal testing had it successfully acquired the company.”
However, Corellium might be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the judge said, which prohibits tools to get around security measures, Bloomberg reported. That aspect of the case wasn’t dismissed.
Unlike iPhones, Corellium’s product can’t make phone calls from a desktop computer or send text messages, access iTunes or do other things an iPhone can, Bloomberg reported.
Big tech companies have been involved in numerous lawsuits this year as the world begins to scrutinize their acquisitions and deals more carefully. In November, a judge said acquisitions involving big companies buying out smaller ones could be harmful to customers, depriving them of more choices.