Apple sues anonymous people over leak of unreleased Apple product info on Web

“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,” Duncan Martell reports for Reuters.

“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,'” Martell reports. “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.”

“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,” Martell reports. “inancial 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.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And now, the speculation begins as to which product picture and/or information was actually correct about which Apple product. Is it the rumored “Apple iPod – Sirius Satellite radio deal,” the “Apple currently mass producing new 5GB iPod mini players for early 2005 debut” one, the “Apple’s ‘iPod flash’ revealed (with image) rumor, or something else entirely?

Related MacDailyNews article:
Apple Computer files lawsuit against ex-contractor for revealing Power Mac G4 – December 10, 2002

36 Comments

  1. I love Apple…but this is just god damn ridiculous.

    I mean come on.

    What possible damages could they be suing them for?

    These leaks only serve to help Apple. Imagine if every anonymous person who leaked stories from Capitol Hill were sued? There would be no one left.

    I agree with Chad. Stupid Bastards.

    Foul Mouthed Ass

  2. If the person to leaked the information or photos had signed a NDA, which would be the case for any employee, contractor or vendor who was allowed access to Apple’s IP, and they violated that NDA, then Apple has every right to sue them and no one should feel it was a bad move on Apple’s part.

    If there are no consequences to violating a NDA, then what would deter people from breaking their agreement? Apple does this every once in a while to set an example to deter others from thinking about violating their NDA.

    Have at them Apple!

    One other point, this gets Apple free publicity which I would say does more good than harm. It adds to the aura of mystery that surrounds Apple and makes people talk about what could be so important that Apple felt it needed to sue somebody to keep the secret.

  3. Foul Mouthed Ass,

    This is not just affecting Apple because the competitors will copy them. But sales can go down if a better product is rumored. If they announce a 5 GB iPod mini, a lot of people will prefer to wait for it instead of buying a 4 GB now. And they’ll be stuck with the old stock.

    Andy C., I agree.

  4. Wuh oh. As much as I enjoy hearing/reading about rumored future products, I understand Apple’s point. Understand this: most of the other computer (and computer-related stuff) manufacturers WANT APPLE TO FAIL!

    They want Apple to go away as a company because Apple is a constant reminder as to how badly Windoze blows. Apple puts them in an embarrasing light because Apple products show people that there is a better, more reliable, safer way to enjoy computer tech. Plus, Apple’s stuff is just way cooler.

    If too many people start using Apple stuff, then that means (usually) that people aren’t going to use their Windoze stuff. That means less money for Billy and the boys. They are pissed that Apple has hit a home-run with the iPod.

    Apple HAS to protect its product secrets because practically everyone else in the computer industry is gunning for them. In order for Apple to be in a position where they can “out-innovate” their competition, they have to be able to develope, and bring to market, products that will take years for their competition to copy. As I’ve said before, the computer industry’s (M$, Dell, et al) best R&D department is Apple Computer. They will almost always copy their stuff.

    As much as I enjoy hearing about the cool new toys that may be coming out of Cupertino, I would much rather have Apple to continue to be successful as a company. In order for that to happen, they can’t have people giving away their secrets.

    As a long-time Mac user and Apple advocate, I have just one request: If you are leaking info about upcoming or soon-to-be-released products, then please don’t do it. Just keep your mouth shut and let us find out about it whenever Apple gets ready to announce it. I want Apple to continue to be successful as a company more than I want to know about whatever new widget is “in development”.

    The Mac community gains nothing by people publicizing Apple’s plans.

    ’nuff said.

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