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Apple Fails Due Diligence in Trade Secret Case 236

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-your-homework dept.
Brett writes "Despite claims to the contrary, it now appears that Apple didn't do any serious investigation inside the company before they sued AppleInsider and the PowerPage. This is quite a bit of a problem because Californian law and First Amendment precedent requires Apple check up on itself before threatening journalists. From the article, "It appears that Apple has adopted a shoot-first, ask questions later approach to dealing with rumors sites. The company took no depositions, required no oaths from its employees, and failed to subpoena anyone related to the company or the development of the device in question.""
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Apple Fails Due Diligence in Trade Secret Case

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  • by brajesh (847246) <brajesh.sachan@gma i l . com> on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:18AM (#13565315) Homepage

    Here [eff.org] is a comprehensive summary of the case at EFF's site. The coverage has obvious bias, but informative nonetheless.
  • by damieng (230610) * on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:23AM (#13565351) Homepage Journal
    I think you are forgetting that Microsoft didn't have any GUI under development when Apple gave them Mac developer kits for them to write Office for the Mac.

    Apple had given Xerox shares in exchange for just a demo of what they had achieved at PARC.

    Microsoft did not give Apple or Xerox anything.
  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @08:51AM (#13565502) Homepage
    Articles from the register [theregister.co.uk] and many others [google.com] make it sound more like EFF had court documents unsealed that show Apple's lack of dilligence.

    From the reg article:

    Apple's legal eagles failed to take depositions or subpoena its own employees, and didn't examine telephone records or individuals' computers. It made only a cursory examination of a single email server. The testimony was provided by Robin Zonic and Al Ortiz, senior manager of investigations, and senior investigator in the corporate security department at Apple....

    Seriously - I really don't understand why the Apple Fans are defending Apple on this one. Apple crossed the line of reasonableness here, defending them means you've crossed the line from fan to shill.

  • by justforaday (560408) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:06AM (#13565598)
    Except NT1 and NT2 never existed. They started counting at 3.1. (And to think that people trust them to create spreadsheet software to handle their finances!)
  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:17AM (#13565659) Homepage
    I think you are forgetting that Microsoft didn't have any GUI under development when Apple gave them Mac developer kits for them to write Office for the Mac.

    So what? Do you really believe that Apple had the right to "copyright" items like overlapping windows?

    Microsoft (filth tho they are) were IMO able to reimplement Apples GUI if they so chose.

    Or do you believe that Apple should not be able to use items like tabbed dialogue boxes? (they appeared in windows first)

    Apple had given Xerox shares in exchange for just a demo of what they had achieved at PARC.

    Reference please. I see many Apple shills pulling this out, but it seems to be contradicted by Xerox sueing Apple. [utexas.edu]

    Choice quote from the article:
    Xerox contends that such software should be licensed widely to encourage a single industry standard. But Apple has tried to prevent other companies from imitating its software, in an attempt to differentiate its products from those of competitors.

    Microsoft did not give Apple or Xerox anything.

    so what?
    I don't believe they should have - they didn't steal Apple's copyrighted code did they?

    Apple are a great company - they make nice hardware, a reasonable Unix like system to run on it and are innovative in many ways.

    But it doesn't mean we have to defend them when they're clearly wrong.
  • by Harbinjer (260165) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:28AM (#13565734) Journal
    I don't care what Apple's lawyers think. As far as I'm concerned they should be up against the wall by now.

    The story is that the judge unsealed the documents, and those documents show that Apple didn't fulfil its obligations to investigate internally FIRST. Besides, this is the EFF, they usually pick their causes well. I trust their legal actions much more than any corporations, because they're not out just to make money, they're here to protect people's rights.

    I wonder if that's grounds for a malicious prosecutions lawsuit. It would serve them right. Those laws exist to protect the rights of the people, and Apple just ignored them.

    Apple does make some very good products, but that's no excuse to trample people's rights. All corporations have the ability to be evil, by their nature. They really need to be held in check when that comes out. Even Google with its "do no evil" slogan has the potential.
  • by balamw (552275) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:47AM (#13565881)
    You are right Office only showed up in 1990, however Word and Excel for the Mac were originally released in 1985.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Word [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Excel [wikipedia.org]

    I should know as I extensively used them in my first love affair with the Mac platform in undergraduate school 1984-1989.

    B
  • by Been on TV (886187) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @09:52AM (#13565914) Homepage

    Apple gave Microsoft the development kit for development of Microsoft Excel [wikipedia.org], which was first launched on the Mac in 1985 and Word the same year. At that time, Microsoft was DOS only.

  • by eyegone (644831) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @10:13AM (#13566099)

    Or do you believe that Apple should not be able to use items like tabbed dialogue boxes? (they appeared in windows first)

    I remember seeing them in OS/2 before Windows 95 came out.
  • by Reverberant (303566) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:02AM (#13566554) Homepage
    Reference please. I see many Apple shills pulling this out, but it seems to be contradicted by Xerox sueing Apple.

    The very link you provided contains the following statement: "Mr. Jobs had been permitted to visit the Xerox laboratory in return for allowing Xerox to invest in one of Apple's last private financing offerings." More links. [google.com]

    they didn't steal Apple's copyrighted code did they?

    For the GUI, no. For Quicktime (AVI), tes [theregister.co.uk]

  • by kybred (795293) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:04AM (#13566589)
    Apple had given Xerox shares in exchange for just a demo of what they had achieved at PARC.
    Reference please. I see many Apple shills pulling this out, but it seems to be contradicted by Xerox sueing Apple. [utexas.edu]
    The very link you reference says this:

    Mr. Jobs had been permitted to visit the Xerox laboratory in return for allowing Xerox to invest in one of Apple's last private financing offerings.

    And another reference [mac.com]:

    Jobs offered Xerox the opportunity to invest $1 million in Apple by buying 100,000 shares at $10 each. Apple was about to go public and the company was already the number one producer of home computers and had the most advanced home units in the world. Xerox jumped at the chance and within a year these shares split into 800,000 shares worth $17.6 million when Apple went public.
  • by Anm (18575) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:25AM (#13566810)
    Word [wikipedia.org] was first relased in 1983 for DOS and then '85 for Mac. Word for Windows didn't come around until '89.

    Excel [wikipedia.org], while not Microsoft's first spreadsheet, originated on the Mac in '85. Windows didn't get their share until '87.

    Anm

    (PS- nice slashdot id, neighbor)
  • Re:Just Curious... (Score:2, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @11:35AM (#13566921)
    "IANAL, but I would've thought that the court/judge should have verified that Apple "thoroughly" investigated it's staff in-house, before violating the journalist's freedoms. After all, if any one could just show up in court and say: "Looky here judge, it's like i say it is, y'hear?" then there wouldn't be much of a judicial process, would there... But please correct me if i'm wrong... "

    You're welcome.

    Apple went to the court and asked the judge: "Please make these journalists tell who leaked our trade secrets". The journalists got some lawyers how are telling the judge: "No, don't make them tell!". Apple's lawyers and the journalists' lawyers now send papers to the court with their reasons why the journalists should have to tell the names or why the shouldn't.

    In one of these papers Apple explains what they have done to find out themselves where the leak is. That paper was "sealed" so that nobody can read it except the judge and the lawyers, apparently because it itself contains trade secrets. The other side managed to "unseal" the paper, so that everyone can read it except for the trade secret bits. All that is absolutely normal business.

    The unusual bit now is that the EFF, which pays the lawyers, goes and publishes the contents of that paper - that is a strategy that you would usually expect from the likes of SCO. They also give an interpretation of the contents of the paper - that Apple hasn't done enough to find the leak themselves, therefore the journalists should not be made to tell their sources.

    So what we have is a paper; we can consider the contents of the paper as fact (because lying to the court would be a very very bad idea), and we know how the EFF wants the judge and the world to interpret the contents of the paper. You can assume that Apple's lawyers have a very different opinion, but Apple apparently wants to handle their court cases in the courts, and not in the press, unlike the EFF. So while some bits of the article are based on fact, the headline and the conclusion that they want you to draw is pure spin by one of the two competing sides.

    What the article presents as its headline: "Apple Fails Due Diligence", is exactly what the judge has to decide. No such decision has been made. This is the same situation as if a man accused of theft went to court, the defense lawyer says "my client is not guilty", and then you write an article with the headline "Client not guilty of theft!", stating his innocence as fact when all you have is what the lawyer said.
  • by Nynaeve (163450) on Thursday September 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#13568016)
    I wonder why the demand in monetary payment

    Then why not find out? Google it:

    Linus Clarifies the Linux Trademark [kerneltrap.org]

    Linus went on to underscore the fact that policing trademarks is not a method of making money, quite the opposite due to Lawyer fees, "not only do I not get a cent of the trademark money, but even LMI (who actually administers the mark) has so far historically always lost money on it."

    The Linux Mark Institute ... is not designed to generate profits for anyone. [linuxmark.org]
  • by honkycat (249849) on Friday September 16, 2005 @01:25AM (#13573449) Homepage Journal
    This is a little different than a lot of First Amendment cases in that the information the journalist obtained was simply trade secrets. While I think First Amendment rights are extremely important, I don't see protecting the source of a trade secret in the same light as, say, protecting a whistle blower who tips off a journalist to illegal or morally corrupt behavior.

    If you obtained trade secrets under an NDA, you do NOT have the right to tell those to a journalist at all. If a company can prove that it has ensured that anyone who had access to the information was bound not to share it, that's pretty good evidence the journalist did not have a legitimate source. Either it was "stolen" by someone, or someone breached their contract. In that case, the journalist may have broken the law by inducing the leak. It seems reasonable to investigate, and part of that investigation would be asking the journalist where he got the information.

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