Apple wins key ruling; three people who published trade secrets must reveal sources

“Apple Computer won a key ruling in a San Jose courtroom Friday in a case involving some company trade secrets. A judge ruled that three people who published articles on the Internet about some Apple products must divulge their confidential sources to help Apple protect its trade secrets,” The Associated Press reports. “Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could only have been provided by someone breaking the law.”

AP reports, “‘The rumor and opinion mills may continue to run at full speed,’ Kleinberg wrote. ‘What underlies this decision is the publishing of information that at this early stage of the litigation fits squarely within the definition of trade secret. The right to keep and maintain proprietary information as such is a right which the California Legislature and courts have long affirmed and which is essential to the future of technology and innovation generally.'”

“In December, Apple sued several unnamed individuals… who leaked specifications about pending music software — code-named “Asteroid” — to Monish Bhatia, Jason O’Grady and another person who writes under the pseudonym Kasper Jade. Their articles appeared in the online publications AppleInsider and PowerPage,” AP reports.

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Apple’s lawsuits to guard against rumor sites cause sour taste for some – March 09, 2005
Commentator: Apple need to patch its own ‘leaks’ to better protect trade secrets – March 07, 2005
Think Secret files motion to have Apple lawsuit dismissed – March 04, 2005
Attorneys expect decision ‘early next week’ on Apple trade secrets hearing – March 04, 2005
Forbes writer wonders if Apple is the new Microsoft – March 04, 2005
Apple wins initial ruling in ‘Asteriod’ case, can pursue publishers’ confidential sources – March 03, 2005
Apple suspends legal action against three journalists – February 17, 2005
ThinkSecret’s Ciarelli gains pro bono legal help in defense of Apple lawsuit – January 19, 2005
ThinkSecret’s Nick Ciarelli says he can’t afford to defend himself against Apple lawsuit – January 15, 2005
Harvard Student and ThinkSecret owner Nick Ciarelli faces Apple’s legal wrath over product ‘leaks’ – January 13, 2005
Stop the presses! Apple sues ThinkSecret over ‘Headless Mac,’ ‘iWork,’ and other rumors – January 05, 2005
Apple Computer sues three for posting Mac OS X ‘Tiger’ on Web – December 21, 2004
Apple sues anonymous people over leak of unreleased Apple product info on Web – December 17, 2004
RUMOR: Apple preps analog to FireWire audio device for GarageBand users – November 23, 2004

31 Comments

  1. ThinkSecret has been publishing the total ABUSE that apple has committed on independant retailers doing great journalism there. They have been the one site that has dedicated in showing apple’s predatory tactics in building stores right across from successful retailers targeting them for destruction after using them like market research scouts. Did anyone think that maybe why Apple SINGLED THEM OUT FOR A SUIT!?!?!!? Nahhh, couldn’t be. Granola apple thinks so different, they’d never be such low corporate scum like that. No way. Not our apple run by an a-hole cult of personality. No way. Couldn’t be.

  2. Nonsense: “Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could only have been provided by someone breaking the law.”

    Does this mean that members of the White House press corps no longer can quote their favorite Executive war criminals?

  3. The way I see it is someone at Apple broke the NDA, and Apple has every legal right to subpoena, or otherwise collect information to uphold their end of the agreement: that disclosure of protected information “may subject you to both civil and criminal liability”. Everyday, lawyers get court orders that allow them to look at a company’s records to help solve these “crimes”. Apple’s lawyers aren’t doing anything radical here, they are simply asking the courts to help them gain access to this information. It’s part of the discovery process and it happens evryday. I hope the guy who leaked the information is penalized to the full extent, and the sites that publish this information know their sources are breaking the law, so that makes them culpapble as well.

  4. “Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could only have been provided by someone breaking the law.”

    Yeah, I admit this bothered me. There are lots of things that are “Company Confidential” and this is real slippery slope stuff.

    For example, the cigarette companies’ studies on the health effects of smoking were “Company Confidential” and were leaked to the press to show that the cigarette companies knew of the health effects of smoking when the leaders of the companies testified before Congress that they had not. The person who revealed this information certainly broke a non-disclosure agreement.

  5. ThinkSerect does more harm than promoting interest in Apple. Its operator, Nick is not a true fan of Apple. A true fan will NOT do any thing illegal or accept information illegally obtained and in turn jeopardize Apple’s trade secret and the livelihood of Apple’s many employee who work hard for the projects and make an honest living. Nick’s dump act affects adversely many people and I don’t think he realizes that. Nowadays, most young people have false sense of what is right and what is wrong without thinking deeper. I hope young Nick will learn a lesson this time.

  6. “Kleinberg ruled that Apple’s interests in protecting its trade secrets outweighed the public interest in the information.”

    “Unlike the whistleblower who discloses a health, safety or welfare hazard affecting all, or the government employee who reveals mismanagement or worse by our public officials, (the enthusiast sites) are doing nothing more than feeding the public’s insatiable desire for information,”

    It seems to me that this judge made a very rational and understandable decision. This isn’t a “governement is taking away our rights issue”, it’s a business protecting it’s right to do business in a FAIR market. And it’s kind fo hard to do that if everyone knows what your up to. Especially if your in the tech business.

  7. Ahhh, deep six the data.

    Where is ‘data loss’ when you need it? For Christs Sake, cant someone deliver a virus when we at last need it?

    Gentlemen, start your shredders!

  8. Nonsense: “Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg ruled that no one has the right to publish information that could only have been provided by someone breaking the law.”

    Does this mean that members of the White House press corps no longer can quote their favorite Executive war criminals?
    ————
    war criminals? i assume you’re trying to be funny. In the case where the CRIME is stealing/spreading confidential data, then it makes sense that anyone spreading such data should be questioned/prosecuted.

    In the case of some war crimes, and then a reference to a quote.. I mean, you’re twisting what is actually a logical statement..

  9. Good.

    And if you worked for Apple and saw all the angles you would agree (in case you don’t)

    I’m a photographer and I would not want my competition to know what I was working on, or what images I would be releasing for sale months before they were available.

    It’s a gas to have prior knowledge of what Apple is going to do, and fun to leak it. But if we KNOW that something that crosses our path is meant to stay secret, let’s obey Apples’s wishes.

    No babies are going to die if we keep a secret about Apple. And it’s not our call to decide if the information is red hot or ho-hum, or whether it would be ‘safe’ to release it.

    Leaks have caused big problems for computer companies in the past. and Apple has a right to be paranoid, and in a position to decide who knows or who doesn’t.

    And to nail someone who clearly ignores Apple wishes.

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