Apple filed a civil complaint in the US yesterday against a former contract employee for leaking documents. In addition, according to court documents filed last week, the district attorney in California is also pressing criminal charges and the man has been arrested.
Jose Lopez – who was contracted by Apple through the Volt Services Group – and an unnamed person referred to as Doe 1 are named in the civil complaint filed by Apple this morning. Lopez worked for Apple as a contractor last summer when schematic drawings and other details about Apple’s PowerMac G4 were released on the Internet.
“Apple has filed a civil complaint against Jose Lopez, previously employed by Apple as a contractor, who we believe stole Apple’s trade secrets by posting schematic drawings, images and engineering details of an unannounced Apple product on the Internet,” an Apple spokesperson said. “Innovation is in Apple’s DNA, so the protection of trade secrets is crucial to our success. Our policy is to take legal actions where necessary to preserve the confidentiality of our intellectual property.”
According to the complaint filed by Apple, Doe 1 “posted unauthorized photographs of the casing and internal components of the PowerMac on publicly accessible areas of the Internet. The photographs provided highly sensitive details regarding both the appearance and internal components of the PowerMac.”
Apple is looking for compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial; exemplary damages in an amount to be determined at trial; an injunction permanently restraining the misappropriation of Apple’s future product information; as against defendant Lopez, for an injunction permanently restraining the breach of the Volt Agreement; attorneys’ fees and costs of suit incurred herein; and for such other relief as the court deems just and proper.
The company is requesting the injunction against the defendants because it cannot be certain they are not continuing to misappropriate Apple’s future product information, according to the complaint. “Any continuing misappropriation will cause Apple to suffer great and irreparable harm and damage, which damage will be difficult to ascertain, and Apple will be without an adequate remedy at law,” the complaint reads.
The criminal case against Lopez, filed by the district attorney, says that the “defendant did knowingly and willfully, and with the intent to appropriate a trade secret to his own use and the use of another, steal, take and carry away and use without authorization a trade secret, to wit: schematic drawings and engineering details of the Power Mac G4, belonging to Apple.”