Apple Gives Up on Trying to Take Down Corellium and the Case Ends Up in Settlement

By Bill Toulas / August 11, 2021

Apple and Corellium have reached a settlement agreement that ends the legal fight that had broken out in August 2019, with the fruit company accusing the latter of illegally replicating parts of the iOS. The last act was scheduled to be played on August 16, 2021, when the trial was to restart in the Federal Court of Florida, but this won’t happen after all. The settlement between the two was agreed privately, so neither have gone public with a statement about this somewhat unexpected development.

Back in December 2020, the same court ruled that Corellium’s testing images of the iOS do not violate Apple’s copyrights because they are used solely for security research, pertaining strongly to the “fair use” argument. As such, they cannot be considered competitive products to the iOS, not in theory, and certainly not in practice. This was a major loss for Apple, but it wasn’t the end of the war. Other DMCA-related allegations about circumventing copy protection measures were still to be reviewed and decided upon next week. Still, it’s possible that Apple’s legal team didn’t believe it was worth the effort.

Even though the settlement was confidential, it is reported that its terms don’t include the suspension of selling iOS virtualization solutions and Apple-focused security testing products. As such, researchers who were previously afraid to use these products can now breathe a sigh of relief and continue their work with whatever tools they choose to. This very fact could be a reason behind Apple’s sudden change, of course, as the legal case had taken its toll on the number of security reports, but this is unlikely to have played a key role at this point.

Whatever the case, for Apple, this is one less lawsuit to worry about, and they are currently juggling quite a few. And no matter who won at the end, for iOS users, this is a win because it ensures that independent research can take place on the software they’re using. This is getting increasingly more important as Apple appears to drift away from the “privacy above all else” motto that stayed at the core of its marketing campaigns in recent years.

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