Apple suit foreshadows coming products

Company sues Mac enthusiast site and others, lending credibility to hot rumors surrounding product plans.

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

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 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 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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