Apple has lost the first challenge in its case against Corellium, a security company that offers an iOS version of security testing.
Taking a summary of the summary decision in the U.S. District Court in Southern Florida, U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith dismissed Apple’s copyright infringement over Corellium software, finding that Corellium’s use of Apple’s code was a misuse. Smith has reversed the decision in a separate case of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but the result is still a significant reversal of the iPhone legal case.
The news was first reported by The Washington Post.
In particular, the judge found that some features within Corellium’s tool had strengthened their case for better use, especially the ability to modify the kernel or maintain and stop processes.
“Corellium made several changes to iOS and included his code to create a product that works for the purpose of changing things,” Smith wrote in his decision. “Therefore, Corellium’s profit interest does not undermine its fair use, especially in view of the public benefit of the product.”
Seriously, the court did not dismiss the entire Apple case. Apple alleges that Corellium blocked its authentication server and secure boot chain, among other things, in violation of the DMCA to avoid copy protection measures.
Corellium also defended fair use in DMCA cases, but the judge did not find it compelling enough to dismiss the DMCA allegations before a full trial.
Apple began suing Corellium for patent charges in August 2019, adding allegations of DMCA violations in the case the following January.
In all cases, Apple emphasized that its purpose was “not to consolidate security research, but to eliminate Corellium’s illegal sale of patented Apple’s patented products.” However, the case has surprised many security firms that rely on Corellium products in iOS analysis.