Apple has lost an early challenge in the lawsuit against Corellium, a security company that offers a virtualized version of iOS for security testing. The decision on the grounds for a judgment, the judge in charge of the case, rejected Apple’s copyright infringement due to Corellium’s software, and found that Corellium’s use of the Apple Code constituted reasonable use. The judge postponed the decision on a separate Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) cost, but the result is still a significant setback for the iPhone manufacturer’s lawsuit. The news was first reported by The Washington Post.
In particular, the judge found that several features of Corellium̵
“Corellium is making several changes to iOS and includes its own code to create a product that serves a transformative purpose,” the judge wrote in his ruling. “Corellium’s profit motivation therefore does not undermine the defense of fair use, especially with regard to the public benefit of the product.”
Crucial that the court did not dismiss the entire Apple case. Apple has claimed that Corellium has circumvented the authentication server and the secure startup chain, among other things in violation of the DMCA’s ban on circumventing copy protection measures. Corellium also set up a sound defense against the DMCA charges, but the judge did not find it compelling enough to dismiss the DMCA allegations before a full trial.
Apple started the lawsuit against Corellium on the basis of copyright in August 2019 and added alleged DMCA violations in the case in January. Throughout the case, Apple has insisted that the purpose is “not to charge security research in good faith, but to end Corellium’s illegal commercialization of Apple’s valuable copyrighted works.” Nevertheless, the lawsuit has been alarming for many security companies that rely on Corellium products for iOS analysis.
The Oracle v. Google case has cast a heavy shadow over the lawsuit, and is mentioned several times in the judgment as a prominent example of a successful claim to software copyright. However, in the end, the judge found that the case had little bearing on the specific allegations made by Apple.