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Apple identifies employee as alleged source of leaks

The computer maker identifies an Apple worker it believes leaked trade secrets about unannounced products on an Internet chat board.

Apple Computer has identified an employee it believes leaked trade secrets about unannounced products on an Internet chat board.

The company said today it has amended its Aug. 2 lawsuit to name a company worker as the "Doe 1" accused in court documents of posting confidential details on Apple products on the Web using the pseudonym "worker bee."

In its suit, Apple alleges the defendant and possibly others posted information about Apple's new mouse and dual-processor PowerMacs before their introduction last month. Apple also said "worker bee" posted information to the AppleInsider site last month about a third product Apple has yet to introduce.

Although Apple named the worker in a court filing, News.com chose not to publish the name because Apple would not confirm whether he is the only employee with that name. An Apple representative also would not say whether the defendant still works at the company.

The defendant, whom Apple identified as a resident of Santa Clara County, Calif., could not be reached for comment.

Apple is seeking an injunction against further disclosure of its trade secrets as well as monetary damages.

"The protection of Apple trade secrets is incredibly important to our success," Apple said today in a statement. "We intend to vigorously pursue legal actions that ensure the confidentiality of our intellectual property is not compromised."

On the same day that Apple said confidential information about a still-unreleased product was posted, "worker bee" posted details of what he said would be included on a future iBook laptop. Apple has not confirmed whether that posting is the one referred to in the lawsuit.

Apple said in a statement that it uncovered the worker's name through information it gathered using subpoenas. A judge ordered Yahoo to turn over to Apple any information it had on "worker bee."

In a court filing, an Apple security executive said that information "worker bee" posted to various chat forums and GeoCities Web pages were Apple trade secrets made available only to people who were parties to nondisclosure agreements. GeoCities is operated by Yahoo.

Apple said it will continue to investigate whether others may have been involved.