Apple v. DePlume

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

01/04/2005

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

California

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
DePlume's blog, Think Secret, published a report about a new $500 monitor-less iMac, new iWork software, and the price and features of the Mac Mini days before MacWorld 2005. In January 2005, Apple sued DePlume and his company for misappropriation of trade... read full description
Parties

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Apple Computer, Inc.

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Nicholas Ciarelli (aka Nick DePlume); DePlume Organization, LLC

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • California

Location of Party: 

  • New York

Legal Counsel: 

Terry Gross
Description

DePlume's blog, Think Secret, published a report about a new $500 monitor-less iMac, new iWork software, and the price and features of the Mac Mini days before MacWorld 2005. In January 2005, Apple sued DePlume and his company for misappropriation of trade secrets, seeking an injunction to bar publication of its proprietary information, money damages, and discovery of the identity of DePlume's sources. Apple's claim was unusual because DePlume was not an Apple employee and was not bound by any confidentiality agreement. Apple argued that DePlume should nevertheless be held liable because he encouraged leaks of confidential information through an anonymous email system and a voice-mail tip line.

On March 4, 2005, DePlume filed a motion to strike the complaint pursuant to California's anti-SLAPP statute (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 425.16). The motion remained pending for years, but the court did not issue a decision on it.

In December 2007, Think Secret announced that the parties had settled the case. Under the agreement, the full terms of which are confidential, ThinkSecret agreed to cease operations. DePlume never revealed his sources.

Related case:

Apple also sought disclosure of documents and information from Think Secret in a case relating to its "Asteroid" product. Apple initially obtained permission to issue a subpoena requiring Think Secret to produce documents identifying its confidential sources for reports about the "Asteroid" product. This subpoena was quashed in O'Grady v. Superior Court, 139 Cal.App.4th 1423 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006), in which the court held that various Apple-related news sites could block disclosure of their anonymous sources and unpublished information based on California's reporter's shield provision and the First Amendment to the US Constitution. (Please see the CMLP datatabase entry on the Apple v. Does case). 

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Subject Area: 

  • SLAPP
  • Trade Secrets
  • Anonymity
Court Information & Documents