January 5, 2005 10:36 AM PST

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In its latest lawsuit seeking to clamp down on leaks, Apple Computer has added credibility to several hot rumors, including plans to offer a cheaper Macintosh and its own line of office software.

Apple on Tuesday sued the publisher of Mac enthusiast site Think Secret and other unnamed individuals, alleging that recent postings on the site contain Apple trade secrets, according to court documents seen by CNET News.com.

The suit, filed Tuesday in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., aims to identify who is leaking the information and to get an injunction preventing further release of trade secrets. However, in filing the suit, Apple identifies specific articles that contain trade secrets, indicating that at least parts of those reports are on the mark.

The lawsuit is the company's third intellectual-property suit in recent weeks. In other court cases, Apple is suing two men who it says distributed prerelease versions of Tiger, the next iteration of Mac OS X. In a separate action, it is suing unnamed individuals who leaked details about a forthcoming music device code-named Asteroid.

In the latter case, Apple won court permission to issue subpoenas to Think Secret and two other Mac enthusiast sites in an effort to ferret out who leaked the information.

Apple said in a statement to CNET News.com that the company's "DNA is innovation, and the protection of our trade secrets is crucial to our success."

"Apple has filed a civil complaint against the owner of ThinkSecret.com and unnamed individuals who we believe stole Apple's trade secrets," Apple said in its statement. "We believe that Think Secret solicited information about unreleased Apple products from these individuals, who violated their confidentiality agreements with Apple by providing details that were later posted on the Internet."

A Think Secret representative did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In its suit, Apple specifically lists certain articles that contain confidential information, though it does not confirm which of the article's details are true. For example, when mentioning the report that Apple plans a "G4-based iMac without display," Apple says the article "disclosed numerous confidential details regarding the technical capabilities of Apple's unreleased computer product as well as Apple's confidential marketing plans."

Similar confirmation is offered regarding iWork, which Think Secret said on Dec. 31 would be a suite of office software combining the

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11 comments

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It's Publicity
I love Apple products, but this suit is ridiculous. The rumor sites always get people hyped for the Macworld announcements, which in effect amounts to free publicity.

Get over it Apple. Geez.
Posted by (274 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Loose Lips Sink Shares
So, if TS did get credible leak from source, not only does this steal "Job's Thunder" appeal, but it can lead to threads picked up over the net by rivals. For instance, there are overseas manufacturers that want to ride Apple's coattails without giving money for licensing.

In other words, you miss the mark. You whine and cry that AAPL isn't doing well, but when Apple licenses iPod rights for 3rd-party accessories, albeit with NDAs for control and quality issues and wow!; share prices triple, its like Apple can do no wrong. But when it stands up for consistant leaks, rumors and possible property damages (imagine iPod was leaked months before release...) would it have generated revenues as it has now? Is it such a bad company for protecting intellectual property (again that provides investors with income?)
Wake up and let Apple do its thing. Rumor sites just dish fecal matter that feeds empty heads, all the while generating its own revenue with pop-ups, flash-ads and subscriptions of zealots.
Posted by Below Meigh (249 comments )
Link Flag
Bite the hand that feeds you
Apple better be damn careful. Palm and a few other companies have played this dangerous game as well (sueing sites.) and its come back to bite them in the ***. Apple needs to understand that the users that frequent sites like thinksecret, macrumors, etc are Apple enthusiasts. Suing the people who evangelize the Mac platform is not a good strategy. Then again Jobs could call all Mac users losers and someone would put a spin on it that makes Jobs a rebel or something. I find it amazing how some people in the fandom can make excuses for anything that company does.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Apple should worry?
Apple need not worry about the biting the hand that feeds it. Those in the 'fandom', as you put it, will forgive any trespass. I work with enough of them, I know. Apple update wipes some external hard drives? Oh well, everyone makes mistakes. Apple doesnt test iTunes for Windows enough to know that it conflicts with popular CD writer drivers and makes it so the machine wont boot? Its all Microsofts fault. A computer sold without a monitor? A flash based MP3 player? Apple innovation at work. In 04 Apples market share falls below 2%, is the only major computer manufacturer that looses ground, but Apple is ready to push into the Enterprise?
MS is the medias demon, and I know of no one that can argue that. They have really screwed up, and deserve a good whack on the head. I just cant figure out why Apple has become the media darling. Are they that desperate?
Posted by catchall (245 comments )
Link Flag
dangerous game
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/renault_laguna_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/renault_laguna_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Al Johnsons (157 comments )
Link Flag
Apple does WHAT?
I am a firm Apple fan since over 20 years. I really believe that Apple suing ThinkSecret can only be a hoax.

There is no way Apple would get upset over a 500$ single chip G4 computer announcement leaking out - that is not even a timely product. On my expectation list, I have a small 500$ computer with a dual core G5 processor by Apple, fast graphics, dual 1TB harddisk, fast Gigabit Ethernet etc. Seeing as if they should really build THAT machine soon, it is unthinkable they sell single chip G4s for 500 bucks, and even more unthinkable that they get upset about someone "leaking" such ideas.

There is no need for Apple to get upset over some alleged 'iWorks' program leaking either. Since there is OpenOffice and Microsoft Office 2004, there is only some type of 'Applix on steroids' package on my expectation list, something that contains web- and rendezvous-based cooperative document editing features, something that includes advanced document and image administration such as the free php-packages OWL and Coppermine Gallery or the like, something that puts LaTex document add-on sorting features at the tips of OS X Aqua users. So, it can't be that they get upset over leaking of something such as "iWorks". I really do not believe that. Besides, wouldn't they have to sue someone else for that 'iWorks' product name? Impossible.

Also on my expectation list for early 2005 is an announcement by IBM, saying that Apple releases OS X for IBM workstations supporting up to 32 GB RAM and up to 8 Processors. So I am confident they should be busy working on that one, which is very cool and very important.

It must be a hoax that Apple sues such little items that are neither complex or timely enough to get aroused by anyhow. That'd be like a supermarket getting upset about leaking the announcement of cheap, thin, fragile, plastic bags.
Posted by swisswuff (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anti-Trust
Anti-Trust lawsuits! LOL!! It's about time. Looks like apple is gonna have to play like everyone else now! Guess what epple freaks? just like MS your crap browser and even crapper quicktime will have to be packaged seperatly! HAHAHA
Posted by (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is exactly the crap that MS gets blasted for
Any other company tries this and they're big bad corporate demons who get vilified in the press.

But apparently the Apple faithful is ready to rush right out and defend the company.

Hey everyone, the Kool-Aid is almost ready!
Posted by (127 comments )
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