Apple Inc. has been unable to fully recover from a long-running copyright lawsuit against cybersecurity company Corellium Inc. about software that emulates the iPhone’s iOS operating system, allowing security researchers to identify vulnerabilities in the software.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit on Monday ruled that Corellium’s CORSEC emulator is protected by the fair use doctrine of copyright law, which allows copying a copyrighted work within a certain number of cases.
CORSEC “promotes scientific progress by enabling security research into critical operating systems,” a three-judge panel of the appeals court said, adding that iOS “is part of software that operates functions outside the core of the copyright”.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the ruling.
Apple argues that Corellium’s software is a “wholesale copy and paste” of iOS and serves as a market substitute for its own security research products.
Corellium countered that Apple’s copying of computer code and application icons was solely for security research purposes and was sufficiently “transformative” under fair use standards.
CORSEC is primarily used by researchers, federal agencies and defense contractors, and the program includes new elements and features not found in the regular iOS operating system, the company said.
Apple first sued Corellium in 2019, but the security company received summary judgment in Florida federal court a year later.
The 11th Circuit said in its unprecedented opinion Monday that the lower court must reconsider Apple’s claims of copyright infringement and infringement of logos and images. iOS background.
The case has been closely watched by security researchers and digital rights groups, who filed multiple amicus briefs and welcomed the ruling.
“The 11th Circuit correctly agreed that ‘big functionality’ software like iOS can be used to create new and valuable tools without violating copyright laws. in an emailed statement.
‘Tools for innovation’
The panel largely sided with Corellium on whether copying its iOS code was transformative, a question raised by the second element of the four-factor fair use doctrine.
“Corellium has invented a creative and innovative tool that accelerates the creative process that copyright seeks to achieve,” the panel said. “Corellium has created a new product with new features.”
The Court of Appeals said the case looks a lot like the Second Circuit’s 2015 ruling in Authors Guild v. Google Inc. maintain the legitimacy of the Google Books Project, which has scanned millions of books into a searchable online database.
In that case, Google’s database is considered transformative because it “advances public knowledge” by providing information about millions of books, such as how often one is used. certain number of words over time.
CORSEC allows researchers to monitor iOS processes in real time and run experiments. “There is no dispute that these features assist researchers and enable them to do their work in new ways,” the court said.
The United States Supreme Court is currently considering a case that will further clarify transformative uses in The Andy Warhol Foundation sued the jeweler.
The question of whether CORSEC will serve as a market replacement for Apple’s own security research products is a “slightly closer question,” the panel said. However, the court said Apple does not have a monopoly “over the transformative research tools that provide information about its operating system.”
Circuit Judges Elizabeth Branch and Andrew Luck, and District Judge Louis Sands sat on the panel.
Latham & Watkins LLP and Lash & Goldberg LLP represent Apple. Goldstein & Russell PC, Hecht Partners LLP, Cole Scott & Kissane PA, and Reid Collins & Tsai LLP represented Corellium.
The case is Apple Inc. v. Corellium Inc., 11th Cir., No. 12835-21, 5/8/23.