Apple is going to court to try to stop information about its future product plans leaking into the public domain.
The company filed a civil complaint on Wednesday in a Santa Clara County Superior Court, seeking monetary damages and an injunction against an unnamed individual or individuals against further disclosure of Apple's trade secrets.
The court action is just the latest salvo being fired by Apple as it tries to rein in information that is appearing on a number of gossip sites in the US and Europe.
The lawsuit alleges that in February an unknown individual or individuals posted images of the dual-processor Power Mac G4, and the same individual or individuals posted images of the Apple Pro Mouse in June. Both products were not released at the time and were eventually launched last month.
Apple did not put forward a representative to explain why it had waited nearly six months from February until August, traditionally the slowest news month of the year, to file the lawsuit.
While many other hardware and software companies actually encourage journalists to whet the appetites of their customers with gossip about forthcoming products, Apple actively discourages it. The company is on record as saying that being secretive creates a buzz.
Recently a lawyer's letter forced Macosrumors.com to pull a story about a redesigned Power Mac G4.
Apple users in chat rooms and forums on Wednesday were generally non-plussed by the company's actions. One contributor, who went under the alias Confused, suggested that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs had lost his mind: "As an Apple user and fan, I find this and his other useless tantrums disturbing to say the least. Folks, he [Jobs] can destroy as fast as he rebuilt it [Apple] with this kind of nonsense."
Apple has a market share of around four per cent of PC sales and the company is outside the top five suppliers worldwide, according to analyst IDC.
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