Apple Sues Virtualization Firm Corellium, Alleging it ‘Illegally Replicated’ iOS

Apple Sues Virtualization Firm Corellium, Alleging it ‘Illegally Replicated’ iOS

August 19, 2019 0 By Hoofer

By David Marshall

Apple is suing the virtualization software firm Corellium for copyright infringement of its iOS operating system, saying the company has created a perfect replica of Apple’s devices to anyone willing to pay.

Using Corellium’s software, users can spin up an exact copy of the latest iOS operating system on a virtual machine powered by Hypervisor for ARM.  ARM is a great fit for replicating Apple software because many of the devices have been known to use ARM Cortex-A8 CPU cores.  Corellium has even named its version of Hypervisor for ARM as ‘CHARM.’

Corellium offers its services as a mobile device virtualization solution which exists to help security researchers discover flaws in iOS running on iPads and iPhones.  But Apple is taking action against the company because it believes Corellium is committing copyright infringement purely for the goal of generating a profit.

The product Corellium offers is a ‘virtual’ version of Apple mobile hardware products that’s accessible to anyone with a Web browser.  The key being that it isn’t tied to a single Apple device.  Corellium’s tool allows users to create a virtual iOS device in the cloud with support that includes the latest iPhone and iPad models.  And they can then load an iOS build directly form Apple’s servers, which creates a “fully functioning” replica device.  Users can then make multiple copies of a virtual device and its software.

The lawsuit filed this week by Apple in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida is demanding a jury trial for, “a straightforward case of infringement of highly valuable copyrighted works.”  Corellium is accused of offering perfect digital copies of Apple’s devices right down to the operating system and application code they ship with.  This is done “with no license or permission from Apple.”

Apple believes Corellium’s servers are illegally hosting numerous copies of iOS.  And the alleged infringement also includes copies of iTunes.  Apple says the company doesn’t appear to require its customers to limit use of its products to research and testing, nor does the firm require customers to disclose discovered bugs and vulnerabilities to Apple.

Apple says that it does not want to obstruct “good-faith security research,” but it wants to end Corellium’s “unlawful commercialization of Apple’s valuable copyrighted works.”

The company is therefore seeking an injunction that prohibits the sale of and access to Corellium products, an order to return owned intellectual property, destruction or impounding of infringing materials, and for Corellium to pay Apple damages, lost profits, and attorney fees.

You can read the court filings here:

Apple v. Corellium by Mikey Campbell on Scribd

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About the Author

David Marshall is an industry recognized virtualization and cloud computing expert, an eleven time recipient of the VMware vExpert distinction, and has been heavily involved in the industry for the past 20+ years.  To help solve industry challenges, he co-founded and helped start several successful virtualization software companies such as ProTier, Surgient, Hyper9 and Vertiscale. He also spent a number of years transforming desktop virtualization while at Virtual Bridges.

David is an author of two very popular server virtualization books and the Technical Editor on Wiley’s “Virtualization for Dummies” and “VMware VI3 for Dummies” books.  David authored countless articles for a number of well known technical magazines, including: InfoWorld, Virtual-Strategy and TechTarget.  In 2004, he founded the oldest independent virtualization and cloud computing news site, VMblog.com, which he still operates today.

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