Apple questioned in ‘Asteroid’ trade secrets case

“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,” May Wong reports for The Associated Press.

“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,” Wong reports. “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. ‘t’s just a picture of a product, why is that a trade secret?’ asked presiding Judge Conrad Rushing. ‘This is just plugging a guitar into a computer.’ George Riley, an attorney representing the Cupertino-based maker of Macintosh computers and iPod media players, countered there were some technical details included with the diagrams, and argued the information leak constituted ‘a very serious theft.’ ‘The First Amendment is not supposed to be a shield for a journalist to shield criminal activity,’ Riley said.”

“The three online media outlets involved in the case all focus on Apple-oriented news and are part of the popular world of blogs. But members of the mainstream media, including The Associated Press, weighed in as well, submitting court briefs asking that the online publishers be allowed to keep their sources confidential. Apple’s lawsuit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court in late 2004, does not directly sue the three media outlets but rather 25 unnamed individuals called “Does” who presumably were Apple employees with access to the as-yet unreleased product,” Wong reports. “The appellate panel has up to 90 days to issue a ruling.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
San Jose court to hear Apple ‘Asteriod’ case, weigh in on bloggers’ rights – April 17, 2006
Apple wins initial ruling in ‘Asteroid’ case, can pursue publishers’ confidential sources – March 04, 2005
Apple suspends legal action against three journalists – February 17, 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


  1. It’s just a few more days before we discover whether the bite out of the Apple Computer logo are belongst to Apple Corps!
    Probably a little longer to discover whether Burst takes a bite out of the other side of the Apple icon, just so we don’t graze upon a lopsided icon!
    All we need then is half a worm poking its remains out of one of the two chomp holes!

  2. Dear Judgement Day,

    What cleverly spun poop. Hitting the bong again?

    Cut the crap and make an actual point. What part of Moog’s comment did you have a problem with?

    He/She stated that breaching a signed contract should carry a toothy penalty. Do you agree or do you not agree?

    He/She stated that he/she does not think Apple has the right to deputize journalists in their campaign to prosecute the offenders. Do you agree or do you not agree?

  3. Until the court passes judgment, we know three things:
    1. Apple has hired at least one very unrepentant liar.
    2. Jason O’Grady is both a coward and a punk.
    3. Moog would sell his sister’s diary for a nickel.

  4. Time to reign in jounalists. They are hiding behind make-believe Amendments for everything … nothing is ilegal for them. Arrogant, collaborating and irresponsible as it gets.

    They have lost all sense of balance, sense, even handedness and most, responsibility. They are like libs out of control …. Entitlement Generation types … entitled to say whatever, whenever about whoever without using common sense.

    I hope Apple wins this one.

  5. Here comes the judge:

    “Hitting the bong again?”

    If this is an example of the quality of education in United States, I feel sorry for all its citizens. I’m sure this eloquent rejoinder works well in your circle of associates, but all it really means is that you can’t develop an articulate thought.

    “He/She stated that breaching a signed contract should carry a toothy penalty. Do you agree or do you not agree?”

    The people who originally signed the nondisclosure agreement apparently understood what they were signing; including the specifics of the penalties that would ensue if they violated the promises listed in the agreement. I would assume that intelligent, thoughtful, and responsible people would comprehend the words contained in the agreement.

    “He/She stated that he/she does not think Apple has the right to deputize journalists in their campaign to prosecute the offenders. Do you agree or do you not agree?”

    I think persons of integrity do not lie, and, if they do lie, attempt to make amends and endure the consequences. Jason O’Grady has an obligation to protect innocent persons unfairly accused or implicated in this case. I also think that if I were on the jury of a person unfairly harmed by these events who is subsequently on trial for beating the crap out of Jason O’Grady, I would vote to acquit. If any person unfairly harmed by these events were to sue Jason O’Grady for damages, I would vote to ensure that O’Grady would pay and pay and pay for many, many years. The price of freedom isn’t free, is it, Jason?

  6. maczealot –

    You can pay me that nickel via PayPal. Here’s a sample from my sister’s diary, to whet your appetite:

    “Feb. 12

    Dear Diary,

    I talked to my friend over at Infinite Loop today. He said that SJ gave him a peek at the new internet-savvy bread maker today — the one with iLife integration. He was surprised at the specs, as he wasn’t expecting version 1.0 to support virtualization. The demo unit was running iBread under OS X while XP processed whole-grain dinner rolls in the background.

    He said he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement (whatever that is) but said it was OK to tell me about it, as long as I kept it a secret…”

    There’s a lot more in here, too, maczealot. Her and her friend end up making out, too. But I’ll need to see the money first.

  7. The very foundations of a free society (something the right-wing US is looking less and less like nowadays) is a free media.
    I get that Apple want to protect their trade secrets but at what sacrifice?

  8. Apple are so hypocritical. Their marketing thrives on the whole rumour-hype associated with unannounced product launches. It whips the public up into a buying frenzy over even an iTurd, bringing them all to climax with the “one last thing” Jobs whispers into their ears. The RDF would vapourise and sales would slump if the media were unable to speculate for weeks before each product announcement. It certainly does far more good to Apple’s bottom line than harm.

  9. Moog, it appears that your babbling idiot of a sister has a profound genetic predisposition for stupidity and you know what people say about familial inheritance.

    I wonder, Moog, if the nondisclosure agreement clearly stated that violators voided their right to privacy that O’Grady’s immaculate and delicate conscience would be salved by telling all. It seems brazenly hypocritical and/or moronic that someone who breached a nondisclosure agreement would claim protection from having his or her name disclosed. Certainly, a person aware that disclosure would involve some “toothy” repercussions could not complain in good conscience if the same agreement “bit them in the ass”.

    It also seems brazenly hypocritical for O’Grady to claim his utmost respect and adherence to the rule of law yet would not consider it just and fair to respect the legality of a nondisclosure agreement. I suppose that O’Grady considers respecting lawful and legal requirements inviolable except when it applies to him.

  10. RS:

    If this were not a free society, me and my band of jack-booted thugs would hunt you down with impunity for posting such inflammatory comments. Nevertheless, here you are expressing your thoughts without a worry in the world. You can say whatever comes to mind and go to sleep at night with the calm assurance that you can do it all over again tomorrow. So, please, feel free to vent, whine, complain, and whimper to your heart’s content.

    Perhaps a free society to you means not having to live up to your legal or moral obligations. Or maybe a free society to you means a place where a caste system of legal exclusivists and exclusionists lecture about morality to the rest of us.

  11. To Andrew….

    It’s been more than two years since iPod’s have hit the market and competitors still can’t come up with a knockoff that’ll take away market share and they have actual hardware to work with and dissect. What makes you think they can do any better with nothing more than a rudimentary drawing?

  12. “If this is an example of the quality of education in United States . . . “

    If your retorts are an example of the quality of education in your country, then it’s clear that your educators are selling you out by teaching $20 words so that you can express your measly two cents worth of drivel.

    Flame on, angry man.

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