Apple ordered to pay ‘Asteroid’ bloggers $700,000 in legal costs

“Bloggers and online journalists have completed their final victory lap in a protracted fight against iPod maker Apple Inc. Earlier this month, a Santa Clara County Court ordered Apple to pay the legal fees associated with the defense of subpoenas issued to online journalists (and other related entities) in response to online reports about a confidential audio/video product — code-named ‘Asteroid’ — under development at the Cupertino-based company. The ‘Asteroid’ product was never released, but Apple claimed the news reports violated California state trade secret law and that the journalists were not entitled to First Amendment protections. However, following an appeals decision last year that strongly sided with the journalists, the Court ordered Apple to pay all legal costs associated with the defense, including a 2.2 times multiplier of the actual fees,” MacNN reports.

MacNN reports, “In total, Apple was ordered to pay nearly $700,000 — a small amount for a company that reported nearly $1 billion in profit in the December quarter, but a large moral victory for bloggers, journalists and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which helped defend against Apple’s subpoenas.”

Much more in MacNN’s full article here.

Related articles:
Apple discontinues legal effort to expose ‘Asteroid’ leaker – July 12, 2006
The Great Apple Asteroid Hoax – June 09, 2006
Judge uses Wikipedia as source to blast Apple in ‘Asteroid’ case – May 30, 2006
Apple loses ‘Asteroid’ appeal in California’s 6th District Court – May 26, 2006
Apple questioned in ‘Asteroid’ trade secrets case – April 20, 2006
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. typhoon, I might agree with your “iLotto” comment if they had initiated the action. As it was, this was just Apple getting their just pie filling.

    Too Hot, no … had nothing to do with TV. The little available information had it as an audio mixer designed to integrate well with Macs, OS X, and GarageBand (or the Logic series). I’ve been waiting (im)patiently for it but i seems they either shelved it or sold it to someone with a track record in audio hardware.

    DLMeyer – the Voice of G.L.Horton’s Stage Page

  2. F- the execs at Apple for trying to litigate the very people that are the source of interest for their products.

    F- the execs at Apple for wielding the legal tool they so woefully disdain when it is used against them.

    F- the execs at Apple for trying to litigate the very tool that they have used on occasion — the media leak. The ship that leaks from the top is sometimes a necessity, so don’t do unto others…

    Look, folks, this is not about corporate security. It’s about the giant ego of its chief executive. Is there material damage if information is leaked a few days before the official announcement? What is gained by competitors by such information in such close proximity to an official release? If the release never happens, then it’s simply Yet Another Rumor, something that Apple is very known to put out there with frequency — the red herring.

    Bunch of bozos with this litigious attitude against the internet blogosphere. It’s outrageous.

  3. Bloggers are not journalists…journalists have to be responsible to a governing body willing and able to police the journalistic field. They have to be responsible enough to acknowledge that there is a commonly held code of of ethics and propriety that comes with the “freedom” of the press, and be willing to abide with those commonly held values; not, as so many bloggers have done, make up their own rules according to their personal beliefs and preferences, and then yell 1st Amendment.

    This is yet another area that needs regulation, but will be ultimately screwed up by the US Congress.

  4. I dunno. I understand the bloggers’ side, but I just worry about giving them carte blanche to reveal trade secrets. It’s just going to make it harder to do R&D and result in more draconian measures on the company side.

    And I’ve never gotten over the fact that these were “Apple rumor” sites. I mean, these are supposed to be for Apple fans. So why fight with the company?

    So, you won. Yay. Have fun f#$&#xin;g up more companies’ plans. Hope you’re proud of yourself.

  5. Thanks alansky and others who feel the same way. Of course we all want to know what those cool labs at Apple are cooking up, but at the end of the day, Apple should be able to protect its products in development from outside eyes, especially if NDAs are being broken from within. Asteroid was probably not an out of this world product, so to speak; but it represented an example Apple had to set to their own workforce and lusting bloggers that NDA = nondisclosure+agreement.

    their potential. our passion*

    *thanks ZuneTang, the black sheep of our (MDN: family)

  6. ” Apple dismissed the underlying case, but did so “without prejudice” (i.e., allowing them the to retain the right to re-file it at a later date).”

    Apple’s Corporate Intelligence (Spying) Unit is now at liberty to seek and pre-release competitors trademarked products and services so long as the press announces the outing. Now which competitor will be the target?

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