Apple loses copyright claim in lawsuit against US security bug startup

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Florida on Tuesday dismissed Apple Inc.’s copyright infringement claims against a Florida startup whose software helps security researchers detect vulnerabilities in Apple products, including the iPhone.

File photo: The Apple logo is seen on October 23, 2020 at an Apple store in Brooklyn, New York. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid

US District Judge Rodney Smith ruled in favor of Corellium LLC, stating that the software “properly uses” the iOS operating system running on iOS and iPad because it was “transformational” and helped developers find security flaws. used to do.

Apple accused Corellium of essentially copying iOS to create a “virtual” iOS-powered device, whose “only function” was to run unauthorized copies of the system on non-Apple hardware.

But a Fort Lauderdale-based judge said Corellium “adds something new to iOS” to allow users to stop viewing and running processes, take live snapshots, and perform other operations.

“Corellium’s profit motivation does not undermine its fair use defense, especially considering the public benefit of the product,” Smith wrote.

The judge also rejected Apple’s argument that the Delray Beach startup had bad faith by selling its product indiscriminately, potentially including hackers, and not requiring users to report bugs to Apple.

He said that while Capartino, California-based Apple did not state the need for reporting under its bug bounty program, “the argument appeared controversial if not astounding”.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Corlium denies wrongdoing. Justin Levine, one of its attorneys, said in an email that the decision was “reasonable conclusions regarding fair use.”

Smith said Apple could still claim a separate federal law that Corellium circumvented security measures when creating its software.

Corellium was founded in August 2017. According to court records, Apple tried to launch Corellium from January 2018, but negotiations broke down in the summer. Apple sued Corellium in August 2019.

The case is Apple Inc. v. Corellium LLC, US District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 19-81160.

Reporting by Jonathan Stampel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio


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