BIZ-BC-CPT-APPLE-CORELLIUM-GET

Apple lost a copyright lawsuit it had against a Florida company, which made a virtual iPhone used by security researchers to test for vulnerabilities in the tech giant's software.

Apple Inc. lost its copyright claims against a Florida company that makes “virtual iPhones” used by security researchers to test for vulnerabilities to its system.

Apple contended Corellium LLC’s copied the operating system, graphical user interface and other aspects of the devices without permission. It accused Corellium of acting under the guise of helping discover bugs in the iPhone’s operating system but then selling the information “on the open market to the highest bidder.”

Corellium’s actions fell under an exception to copyright law because it “creates a new, virtual platform for iOS and adds capabilities not available on Apple’s iOS devices,” District Court Judge Rodney Smith in West Palm Beach, Fla. ruled last week.

Corellium has said its customers are government agencies, financial institutions and security researchers. It said Apple tried to hire the company’s founders and buy a predecessor of the firm and sued when the talks fell through.

“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. “Further, Apple itself would have used the product for internal testing had it successfully acquired the company.”

The judge said that Corellium may still be in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which prohibits tools to circumvent security measures, so declined to dismiss that aspect of the case.

Corellium’s virtual product used on a desktop computer can’t make phone calls, send text messages, access iTunes or do any of the other things an iPhone can.