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Archived updates for Monday, January 17, 2005

Sour Apples?

by Guest Blogger, Chris Guinn

If I told you that a 19-year-old Harvard student is being sued by Apple Computer, Inc., you might think the case has to do with illegal music swapping using Apple's iTunes service. But, you might be surprised to learn that, instead, Apple is suing one of their biggest supporters for generating a little too much buzz about Apple's upcoming products.

The on-line edition of The Harvard Crimson reports that Nicholas M. Ciarelli, who has run the Think Secret web site since he was 13 years old, is apparently a party to a complaint filed by Apple Computer, Inc. in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara last Tuesday. Apparently, Apple previously sent Ciarelli a letter ordering that the Think Secret website stop publishing Apple's trade secrets. For example, Think Secret recently published plans about the newest model to the Macintosh lineup, the Mac mini, more than two weeks before Apple publicly announced (with much fanfare) at the MacWorld Expo on January 11, 2005.

Apple apparently alleges that the Think Secret website includes solictitations for employees, and others under non-disclosure agreements, to anonymously disclose information which Apple considers confidential.

This case touches a number of legal issues, including the misappropriation of trade secrets and the ability for a reporter to keep sources confidential. For attorneys looking to hone their skills in these areas, Ciarelli is apparently still looking for counsel. Or you can just join the debate here.

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