Two men who were alleged to have sold a lost prototype of the Apple iPhone 4 to blog site Gizmodo last year have been found guilty of misdemeanour theft.
Brian John Hogon, 22, and Sage Robert Wallower, 28, have been sentenced to one year's probation and 40 hours of community service, according to reports. Additionally, the pair have been ordered to pay Apple $250.
However, San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe has allowed the men to keep the $4,750 they made on the sale, while Gizmodo has not been punished for buying the device.
The device was found by the men after Apple software engineer Gray Powell left it in a German beer garden in Redwood City while out testing it in the field
"They were student technological geeks who did not intend to violate the law," Elizabeth Grossman, an attorney for Wallower, told the Wall Street Journal.
"The court recognised that this event was out of character."
After Gizmodo bought the prototype from the men, the blog posted details of its specifications as well as photos on its web site.
Apple took the case to court, arguing that by publishing details of the phone and its features, sales of its current Apple products would be impacted.
Apple chief executive Steve Jobs intervened personally in trying to retrieve the device.
During the case, the US police had searched blog editor Jason Chen's home for evidence.
Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site LocalGov.tv. Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.