Apple reignites legal battle with security start-up Corellium

18 Aug 2021

Image: © dvoevnore/

Apple has filed an appeal in its copyright lawsuit against security research company Corellium, which replicates iOS systems to identify security flaws.

US tech giant Apple has filed an appeal in its copyright lawsuit against security start-up Corellium.

Apple’s decision to appeal was reported by Reuters yesterday (17 August) in a move that was unexpected as the two companies had reached a settlement in a case last week.

Last year, a US federal judge rejected Apple’s copyright claims against Corellium, which makes iOS virtualisation software that researchers can use to examine how Apple devices and systems function in order to identify security flaws.

The appeal news comes after Corellium announced its latest research project, Open Security Initiative, to examine the security and privacy of programmes such as Apple’s planned new method for detecting child sexual abuse images.

Apple, which prides itself on protecting user privacy, had been criticised by digital rights advocates for its new technology.

This tech is designed to detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) that is being uploaded to the cloud using cryptographic principles and an existing database of CSAM. Apple also plans to alert law enforcement if the system finds that CSAM is being collected in a user’s iCloud.

The tech giant had said it would allow researchers to check its plans to scan customer devices.

But Corellium CEO Amanda Gorton said Apple “can’t pretend to hold itself accountable to the security research community while simultaneously trying to make that research illegal”, referring to the legal action taken against the security start-up.

Apple’s fight with Corellium dates back several years. It originally sued Corellium in 2019, alleging that the start-up’s software designed to replicate its iOS system infringed on copyright.

In 2020, the tech giant’s case was thrown out by a Florida judge after the court found that Corellium had established fair use and that the company had not illegally replicated Apple’s operating systems as the company alleged.

Corellium said at the time that its software helped Apple find flaws and accused the company of using the lawsuit to “crack down on jailbreaking.”

Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic