Brief: Apple Charges Trade-Secret Violations

SAN MATEO (08/04/2000) - Apple Computer Inc. filed a lawsuit this week that accuses an "unknown individual" of posting trade-secret information from Apple on the Internet.

In the lawsuit Apple alleges that, starting in about February, an individual published digital images on the Internet of the company's new dual-processor Power Mac G4 and ApplePro Mouse. The suit seeks an injunction against further disclosures of Apple's trade secrets and unspecified monetary damages.

In the suit, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said that it does not know the real name of the defendant, referred to in the complaint as "Doe 1." The company will amend the complaint, filed in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County, Calif., when it discovers the defendant's identity.

Companies often try to keep details of future products under wraps for both competitive and marketing reasons, although Apple has often seemed keener than most to prevent such information from being leaked.

Last month, the company took ATI Technologies to task over a press statement issued by the maker of computer graphics cards shortly before the Macworld Expo show in New York. The statement boasted that Apple would launch three new systems at the show -- an iMac and two Power Macs -- equipped with ATI graphics cards.

Apple was "obviously upset" by the leak, which led to "fairly lengthy discussions" between the two companies, an ATI representative said.

This week an Apple representative said the company derives a "considerable business advantage" by keeping details about unreleased products under wraps.

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