ThinkSecret to defend itself against Apple

— 10:20 AM on January 20, 2005

Apple stands alone, as far as I know, among major consumer technology companies in its willingness to sue the pants off of any publication reporting rumors about its future products. We here at TR have even received legal threats from Apple for publishing a link to a report at another site about possible Apple products.

The latest instance of Apple suing a publication over rumors is the case of ThinkSecret, an Apple rumor site run by a Harvard student. Apple sued the site and its owner on January 4 over info the site published about Apple's recent (then upcoming) product announcements. Now, ThinkSecret has retained the services of Terry Gross, the lawyer who served as the first counsel to the EFF.

This challenge to Apple's legal threats is important because it will tackle Apple's claims on two fronts. The first is the obvious First Amendment argument, but the second may be even more important: the question of the protection of trade secrets under California law. Apple has been using the trade secrets issue as part of its legal threats for some time now. If the trade secrets issue doesn't work, or if First Amendment concerns override it, Apple may have to curb its litigious ways.

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