TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Apple Questioned in Trade Secrets Case

Apple Questioned in Trade Secrets Case

Monty Solomon (
Fri, 21 Apr 2006 23:57:53 -0400

By MAY WONG AP Technology Writer

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- A case that could jeopardize the right of
journalists to protect the confidentiality of sources and give
companies more legal leeway to track down supposed leaks of trade
secrets is now in the hands of a state appeals court.

Apple Computer Inc. faced tough questions before a three-judge panel
of the 6th District Court of Appeal on Thursday as it argued its case
seeking to identify the sources who leaked confidential information
about an unreleased product to online media outlets in 2004.

Apple contended the unidentified sources _ presumed to be company
employees _ violated its trade secrets. It subpoenaed the Internet
service providers of three online journalists to turn over e-mail
records to uncover the possible sources.

A lower court last year ruled in Apple's favor but the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, whose attorneys represent the online journalists
of, and appealed. The civil
liberties organization contended Apple's protection of trade secrets
in this case should not outweigh the journalists' First Amendment
right to confidential sources nor the privacy protections of e-mails
allowed under federal law.

The appellate panel in San Jose questioned Apple's stance, including
its claim that the published diagrams of the unreleased music-related
product code-named "Asteroid" amounted to a trade secret.


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