TechCrunch is reporting that Apple and Think Secret have settled their longstanding trade secrets dispute. Here's the kicker: under the terms of the agreement, Think Secret will cease operations. Think Secret issued a statement:
Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secret's publisher, said "I'm pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits."
The case arose out of Think Secret's publication of a report about a number of new Apple products days before MacWorld 2005. Appled sued the blog's operator Nick Ciarelli (aka Nick DePlume) and his company DePlume Organization, LLC for misappropriation of trade secrets in California state court and sought discovery of the identity of Think Secret's confidential sources. Apple's claim was unusual because Ciarelli was not an Apple employee and was not bound by any confidentiality agreement. Apple argued that Ciarelli should nevertheless be held liable because he encouraged leaks of confidential information through an anonymous email system and a voice-mail tip line.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 before the recent settlement.
For additional details and court documents, please see the CMLP database entry, Apple v. DePlume.