Apple loses copyright lawsuit against iOS virtualization company Corellium

Last August, Apple filed a lawsuit against virtualization company Corellium, which allows users to virtualize iOS for security research purposes. Now, a judge has thrown out Apple’s claims that Corellium’s virtualization tools violated copyright law.

Apple had also argued that if Corellium’s virtualization tools were used by the wrong person, the vulnerabilities discovered with the tools could be used to hack iPhones. The judge in the case, Judge Rodney Smith, called these claims from Apple “puzzling, if not disingenuous.”

As reported by The Washington Post, a federal judge in Florida sided with Corellium and said that the company had established fair use for using Apple’s code, thereby denying Apple’s request for a permanent injunction against the security startup.

“Weighing all the necessary factors, the Court finds that Corellium has met its burden of establishing fair use,” Judge Smith wrote Tuesday’s order. “Thus, its use of iOS in connection with the Corellium Product is permissible.”

Corellium is a security research platform that allows users to run virtualized versions of iOS on desktop computers. This makes the process of finding bugs and vulnerabilities in the operating system far easier, but Apple had argued that Corellium blatantly infringes upon its copyrights by offering this virtualization technology.

Interestingly, The Washington Post adds that Apple’s claim Corellium “circumvented security measures” and violated the DMCA has not yet been thrown out:

Apple initially attempted to acquire Corellium in 2018, according to court records. When the acquisition talks stalled, Apple sued Corellium last year, claiming its virtual iPhones, which contain only the bare bones functions necessary for security research, constitute a violation of copyright law. Apple also alleged Corellium circumvented Apple’s security measures in order to create the software, thereby violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That claim has not been thrown out.

Apple’s lawsuit against Corellium came after the company significantly revamped its bug bounty program last year with higher payouts and a new device program that gives researchers what are essentially “pre-jailbroken” iPhones.

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