TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Apple Sues Over Web Leak of Advance Products

Apple Sues Over Web Leak of Advance Products

Lisa Minter (
Fri, 17 Dec 2004 19:48:36 EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc. is suing anonymous
people who leaked details about new products by posting information on
the Internet, court documents showed on Friday.

Apple's complaint, filed with the Santa Clara County California
Superior Court, comes only weeks ahead of the Macworld conference in
San Francisco, the annual show where CEO Steve Jobs unveils the latest
Apple products.

Apple is notoriously secretive about its product plans, while many fan
sites routinely discuss what may be in store, including posting
pictures of real products and hoaxes.

The complaint alleges that "an unidentified individual, acting alone
or in concert with others, has recently misappropriated and
disseminated through Web sites confidential information about an
unreleased Apple product."

Apple said in the seven-page civil complaint, filed on Dec. 13, that
it did not know the "true names or capacities, whether individual,
associate, corporate or otherwise," of the defendants. Once they have
been discovered, the Cupertino, California-based company said it would
amend the complaint.

It was not the first time Apple has gone after fanatics who have
posted information about upcoming products on the Internet.

In December 2002, Apple sued a former contractor who allegedly posted
drawings, images and engineering details of the company's PowerMac G4
computer in July of that year, several weeks before the product was
officially unveiled.

"Apple has filed a civil complaint against unnamed individuals who we
believe stole our trade secrets and posted detailed information about
an unannounced Apple product on the Internet," the company said in a
statement provided to Reuters. "Apple's DNA is innovation and the
protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success."

Mac rumor Web sites are at their busiest ahead of the annual Macworld
conventions, which are highly anticipated by the Mac faithful for
product introductions and Jobs' keynote.

In recent weeks, the Web sites have been buzzing with speculation that
Apple will introduce a smaller, cheaper version of its market-leading
iPod digital music player that uses flash memory, rather than the hard
disk drives of the standard iPods.

Flash memory chips retain data stored on them even when electrical
current is shut off.

Financial analysts Andy Neff of Bear Stearns and Charlie Wolf of
Needham & Co. have also published notes in recent weeks mentioning
flash iPods.

"To succeed, Apple must develop innovative products and bring those
products to market in advance of its competitors," the company said in
its complaint. "If Apple competitors were aware of Apple's future
production information, those competitors could benefit economically
from that knowledge by directing their product development or
marketing to frustrate Apple's plans."

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