Apple may pursue a civil suit against Gawker Media over iPhone 4 prototype leak

“Very few technology executives guard trade secrets as determinedly as Apple CEO Steve Jobs,” Greg Sandoval and Declan McCullagh report for CNET. “In a sector noted for paranoia, he stands out for his willingness to file suit against anyone disseminating information that he believes belongs solely to his company. Journalists, Apple developers, even teenagers; it doesn’t matter. Apple has sued them all for exposing trade secrets.”

“That’s why if Apple chooses to pursue a civil suit against Gawker Media, parent company of the gadget blog Gizmodo, it would unlikely surprise anyone who knows Apple’s history,” Sandoval and McCullagh report.

Read more in the full article here.

In a related article, Sandoval and McCullagh report, “Criminal charges recently filed against two men who allegedly sold a prototype iPhone to have a not-so-obvious side effect. A successful conviction in San Mateo County will make it easier for Apple to win a civil suit against the gadget blog, if it pursues one as its lawyers threatened last year, legal experts tell CNET.”

“‘Will the criminal case help them? Absolutely,’ says Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who’s a former federal public defender. ‘They’re going to learn a lot more about what happened,'” Sandoval and McCullagh report. “The reason is that it will likely shake loose more details about the two defendants–Brian Hogan and Sage Robert Wallower–and any interactions they had with Gizmodo and its parent company, Gawker Media.”

Read more in the full article here.



  1. If Apple doesn’t exact some flesh from Gawker, it’s going to be open season on technology companies for bloggers to get their scoops any way they can. Because the San Mateo District Attorney’s office didn’t have the balls to take on the “constitutionality” of Gawker’s journalistic standing (hint: they’re not), if Apple wants to draw a line in the sand, they’re going to have to do it themselves. As usual.

    1. Agreed – this case is going to be just the tip of the iceberg, as other tech bloggers & journalists view journalist shield laws as a way to commit any crime they wish, as long as it’s in the service of reporting a story!

  2. I used to be a regular reader of Gizmodo, but I stopped because they showed their sleazy lack of principles over and over during this whole thing. I refused to support them and will continue to boycott them.

    1. They lost me when they posed as professional journalists at CES and then proceeded to use an IR remote device to sabotage demos and keynotes by turning off the display equipment. It was the behavior of teenaged boys, not of industry professionals and should have earned them a ban from any industry press events. They were far more interested in laughing at their targets and impressing the dumb jackasses who cheered them on in their comments section.

  3. Its not over…. the “journalists” getting a story or “news” agencies or bloggers wanting better ratings at ANY cost, should be persecuted: not just prosecuted. They don’t have the right to feel like the constitution should be protect them. Things like Murdoch and the phone hacking scandal wouldn’t so be commonplace if more companies and people grew a pair and started going after them with intent to do harm.

    1. Ahh, but journalist shield laws! I can commit any crime I like, so long as I write a news report about it, thanks to the San Mateo District Attorney’s cowardice in failing to prosecute Gawker! Wheeeeee!

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