or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Affidavit in prototype iPhone case reveals Steve Jobs contacted Gizmodo
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Affidavit in prototype iPhone case reveals Steve Jobs contacted Gizmodo

post #1 of 250
Thread Starter 
After Gizmodo paid $5,000 to obtain a prototype iPhone that was lost by an Apple engineer, the company's chief executive personally contacted the website's editor to request that the phone be returned.

The affidavit in the case was unsealed Friday by Judge Clifford Cretan in San Mateo County, Calif. CNet had a first look at the document, which revealed the phone call between Steve Jobs and Gizmodo editor Brian Lam.

"... after Gizmodo.com released its story regarding the iPhone prototype on or about 4/19/2010, Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) contacted the editor of Gizmodo.com, Brian Lam," the document reads. "Jobs requested that Lam return the phone to Apple. Lam responded via the e-mail address...that he would return the iPhone on the condition that Apple provided him with a letter stating the iPhone belonged to Apple."

The affidavit also reveals the story already known publicly: that an Apple engineer lost the iPhone, and it was obtained by another individual who sold the phone to Gizmodo for $5,000. It specifically named Brian Hogan as the individual who "found or stole a prototype iPhone 4G."

"Upon receiving the stolen property, Chen disassembled the iPhone, thereby causing it to be damaged," the document reads. "Chen created copies of the iPhone prototype in the form of digital images and video, which were subsequently published on the Internet based magazine Gizmodo.com."

Earlier this month, a number of media outlets asked the court to unseal the affidavit in the prototype iPhone case. The warrant was used to seize the computers of Chen, the Gizmodo editor. Media outlets said the affidavit needed to be made public to determine whether the police raid was legal.

Similar documents are typically made public within 10 days, but the paperwork related to the raid, which occurred on April 23, remained sealed by the court until Friday afternoon. Cretan decided Friday to unseal the documents as the judge determined that making their contents public would not compromise the ongoing investigation.
post #2 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...the company's chief executive personally called the website's editor to request that the phone be returned...

So much for the army of ninjas...
post #3 of 250
Please wake me when someone goes to jail.
post #4 of 250
This was mentioned from some site awhile back. Apparently Jobs called and abruptly said, "GIVE ME BACK MY PHONE!".
post #5 of 250
While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, it was a dick move to make during a call from Jobs asking for the phone back. Very likely, if he had simply said OK and returned it, this would have all been forgotten. Getting on Jobs bad side is a good way to have a bad day.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #6 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, it was a dick move to make during a call from Jobs asking for the phone back. Very likely, if he had simply said OK and returned it, this would have all been forgotten. Getting on Jobs bad side is a good way to have a bad day.

The arrogance by the journalist to stall the return of stolen property will cost him. If he were smart he would have visited the main campus, requested a visit with executive staff and returned it over to them in hopes of possibly getting a story.

Instead, he did what he did.
post #7 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, it was a dick move to make during a call from Jobs asking for the phone back. Very likely, if he had simply said OK and returned it, this would have all been forgotten. Getting on Jobs bad side is a good way to have a bad day.

Gizmodo just wants everything to be handled "legally".
And Apple's like you want legal? This is how legal's done.

Unfortunately they disassembled the thing they bought for $5k, took pictures of it, and posted it on the internet. Which puts them in a pretty bad position.
post #8 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihxo View Post

Gizmodo just wants everything to be handled "legally".
And Apple's like you want legal? This is how legal's done.

Unfortunately they disassembled the thing they bought for $5k, took pictures of it, and posted it on the internet. Which puts them in a pretty bad position.

That's what I was thinking - that asking for a letter stating that the phone belongs to you and please return it allows the Giz folks to send it back registered mail etc so that they can document that it was returned as well confirming that it is in fact truly an iPhone prototype. but I suppose Steve never would have called if it was some fake.
post #9 of 250
He wanted the letter from Apple to hold off the mountains of "Fake!" that would have been hurled at him.

"Don't believe, well, here's a letter from Apple!"
post #10 of 250
"Chen created copies of the iPhone prototype in the form of digital images and video".

I don't think so.
post #11 of 250
If I have to speculate, more than likely there will be no jail time. However, it would cost a lot of money for legal fees, for both Gizmodo and Chen, if the DA proceeds with filing of criminal charges. If you read Gizmodo's response to the request from Apple's legal office, it was so arrogant.

Personally, this should happen, to clarify the isses raised, i.e., the extent of press immunity and whether there was indeed a violation of California statute of what constitute theft. complicity to the theft, and even disclosure of proprietary information.

If I were Apple, I would still file civil charges, which is easier to prove, to ensure that the behavior of sites and bloggers as shown here would not be taken so lightly.

How would we react if the lost property was sold to another company, e.g., makers of Android, or other phone manufacturing company?

I am all for press freedom but this is abuse of such right.

CGC
post #12 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

but I suppose Steve never would have called if it was some fake.

You never know. It might be part of some high stakes game Apple is playing. Steve might call to make you think that the phone is real, therefore sidetracking the media from the *real* features of the new phone!
post #13 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

After Gizmodo paid $5,000 to obtain a prototype iPhone that was lost by an Apple engineer, the company's chief executive personally called the website's editor to request that the phone be returned...

One aspect of this case that we still haven't heard definitively about that I think might give Gizmodo a lot of trouble is the exact timing of all these events.

For instance, the first pictures appeared on Gizmodo's website, and then only a couple of days later did the pictures appear of the device "tear down." We now know that Apple contacted them about the phone when they saw it on the web, seemingly immediately.

If the tear-down was done *after* Apple contacted them about the phone, then it's straight industrial espionage and the defence that they "didn't know it was an Apple phone until they opened it" looks specious. Even if the tear-down was done *before* Apple contacted them, but then published *after* Apple has already contacted them and said it was their phone then it's still clearly illegal. They would be releasing trade secrets about what appeared to be a multi-million dollar secret phone project after being told by the purported owners of the phone that it was in fact theirs and was in fact exactly that.

If they are instead hanging on the idea that Jason Chen was waiting for "written confirmation" from Apple (as he has mentioned several times), then that's just extortion on top of the illegalities of releasing the trade secrets.

A - "Give us back our phone"
G - "How do we know it's yours?"
A - "I'm telling you that's my phone and I want you to give it back."
G - "Put it in writing and I'll give it back. Meantime, I want to play with it"

Does this sound like any schoolyard near you? Does anyone actually believe this is some kind of legal defence?

It just looks more and more like these guys were just ignorant and acting on a lot of high-school legal advice. Gizmodo's staff has always seemed a bit dim and uneducated to me, but the level of ignorance (seemingly) demonstrated here is just astounding.
post #14 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldenclaw View Post

You never know. It might be part of some high stakes game Apple is playing. Steve might call to make you think that the phone is real, therefore sidetracking the media from the *real* features of the new phone!

If Apple was requesting the return of property that wasn't theirs, then they would be another party involved in a chain of possessing stolen property.

Steve Jobs calling and asking for it back should have been enough confirmation. If they took the call and showed pictures of the phone not disassembled, that should have been enough. But they had to say they weren't fully sure until they took it apart which is where I think they crossed the line.
post #15 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, it was a dick move to make during a call from Jobs asking for the phone back. Very likely, if he had simply said OK and returned it, this would have all been forgotten. Getting on Jobs bad side is a good way to have a bad day.

Much as I like and admire the guy, Jobs is not law enforcement.
post #16 of 250
or maybe it was all an elaborate plot to get EVERYONE all jazzed up and TONS of free media coverage for what will be a major advance for the iPhone and they will have record sales in the coming quarter.
post #17 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by benice View Post

"Chen created copies of the iPhone prototype in the form of digital images and video".

I don't think so.

You can think what you like, but "copies" in this context (of course) doesn't mean literal functioning facsimiles-- it's referring to the legal language regarding trade secrets and the dissemination of same.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
Reply
post #18 of 250
Seeing as how Gizmodo wanted to play this odd cat and mouse game with Apple, I'm sure it will end up hurting them in the long run. The evidence against them is irrefutable and will cause them much financial distress. Hopefully behavior like this will be curbed in light of this most recent case, these are very serious allegations being put forth against Gizmodo, lets hope they treat it with the utmost seriousness.
post #19 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Much as I like and admire the guy, Jobs is not law enforcement.

Well, you have the right to ask for your lost or stolen property back. You don't need to be a law enforcement member to do so. However, I think that Gizmodo asking for written request was more to publish the request than legal.
post #20 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

One aspect of this case that we still haven't heard definitively about that I think might give Gizmodo a lot of trouble is the exact timing of all these events.

For instance, the first pictures appeared on Gizmodo's website, and then only a couple of days later did the pictures appear of the device "tear down." We now know that Apple contacted them about the phone when they saw it on the web, seemingly immediately.

If the tear-down was done *after* Apple contacted them about the phone, then it's straight industrial espionage and the defence that they "didn't know it was an Apple phone until they opened it" looks specious. Even if the tear-down was done *before* Apple contacted them, but then published *after* Apple has already contacted them and said it was their phone then it's still clearly illegal. They would be releasing trade secrets about what appeared to be a multi-million dollar secret phone project after being told by the purported owners of the phone that it was in fact theirs and was in fact exactly that.

If they are instead hanging on the idea that Jason Chen was waiting for "written confirmation" from Apple (as he has mentioned several times), then that's just extortion on top of the illegalities of releasing the trade secrets.

A - "Give us back our phone"
G - "How do we know it's yours?"
A - "I'm telling you that's my phone and I want you to give it back."
G - "Put it in writing and I'll give it back. Meantime, I want to play with it"

Does this sound like any schoolyard near you? Does anyone actually believe this is some kind of legal defence?

It just looks more and more like these guys were just ignorant and acting on a lot of high-school legal advice. Gizmodo's staff has always seemed a bit dim and uneducated to me, but the level of ignorance (seemingly) demonstrated here is just astounding.

It mentions "after Gizmodo.com released its story regarding the iPhone prototype on or about 4/19/2010, Steve Jobs (Apple CEO) contacted the editor of Gizmodo.com, Brian Lam"

Whether the date given refers to the date of the article (the tear down was posted on that date IIRC) or to the date of Jobs call isn't completely clear. In either case, the specific article in questions seems to be after the tear down. I don't think requesting a formal letter claiming ownership would be defined as extortion. Obviously, Chen had reasons to get this letter, but one of those could simply be, or at least claimed to be, that Giz wanted a formal request to be, well, formal. It was unnecessary and just a dick move, but I don't think any part of the case against them is going to rest on this point.

The whole trade secrets case is a totally different issue. I don't see how the timing of the tear down compared to them knowing it was an Apple device would help determine if it was a violation os TS protections. Either it was or it wasn't.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #21 of 250
Fully agree with your opinion on the timing of events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Even if the tear-down was done *before* Apple contacted them, but then published *after* Apple has already contacted them and said it was their phone then it's still clearly illegal. They would be releasing trade secrets about what appeared to be a multi-million dollar secret phone project after being told by the purported owners of the phone that it was in fact theirs and was in fact exactly that.

It would be pretty hard for Gizmodo to think these weren't trade secrets (and maybe instead Apple being overly uptight about letting anyone have a sneak peek) since they've run so many stories on how secretive the company is. It is their property to present whenever they choose (although I personally do think they do a great job in over hyping things with controlled leaks and stuff)
post #22 of 250
What site? The only people to report on the direct contact with Apple was Gizmodo, who never once reported that Steve Jobs personally called them.

I don't get why people (aka you) feel the need to make stuff up.
post #23 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Much as I like and admire the guy, Jobs is not law enforcement.

No, but it seems that Apple didn't report it stolen until after the story broke. If it was also after Jobs call, then there is a chance that if they had simply returned it after receiving the call, Apple would have gone no further. No guarantee of this, just the knowledge that pissing off Jobs isn't a good way to be on his good side. If there was any question that Apple might or might not go to the police, playing games with him is just going to ensure that Apple would report it stolen.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #24 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

The whole trade secrets case is a totally different issue. I don't see how the timing of the tear down compared to them knowing it was an Apple device would help determine if it was a violation os TS protections. Either it was or it wasn't.

In that line of thinking, doesn't that mean that iFixIt's teardowns are also violations of trade secret laws?
post #25 of 250
The only people who come out ahead in situations like this are lawyers, which, by the way, is why I went to law school!
post #26 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by jetlaw View Post

The only people who come out ahead in situations like this are lawyers, which, by the way, is why I went to law school!

Very true and probably true of most lawyers.

Whatever happened to being in a profession to help your fellow man in their time of crisis and misery instead of being in it only to profit from those times?

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #27 of 250
http://gizmodo.com/5495765/hello-steve-jobs

Quote:
Well isn't that nice! Silicon Alley Insider has it on good authority that Gizmodo is one of the tech sites Steve Jobs has bookmarked in Safari on his iPad. Hi, Steve! We knew he was a fan, but I'm glad to see he's keeping up with us tablet-style, even after letting Bill Gates' byline run here sometime last year. How do we look on that 1024x768 screen? My email's below. Or better yet: drop us a line in the comments. P.S. Can you get us an iPad early? Seriously, it would make life a lot easier!

I wonder if SJ still reads Giz, and what happened that day. Did he find out by someone telling him about the story, or did he see it himself first.
post #28 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, it was a dick move to make during a call from Jobs asking for the phone back. Very likely, if he had simply said OK and returned it, this would have all been forgotten. Getting on Jobs bad side is a good way to have a bad day.

Actually its pretty clearly extortion. You can't say you're going to do something illegal (not return stolen property) on a condition that forces the victim to do something for you.

You can't steal somebody's kid and then say, hey, I'll return him if you do me a favor.
You can't say you will claim you found a rat in your burger unless BK gives you one for free.

Gizmodo's Lam pretty clearly not only paid for stolen merch and then refused to return it, but he also, according to the affidavit (and in concert with what he published), demanded a written request he could publish for web traffic in exchange for doing what he was legally obligated to do. That's extortion, in addition to being a dick move.
post #29 of 250
Obligatory post coming up.....


"Are you nuts?

Sent from my iPad"
MBP 15" Unibody GHz 500GB 4GB
iPhone 3GS 16GB
iPod nano black fatty 8GB
Reply
MBP 15" Unibody GHz 500GB 4GB
iPhone 3GS 16GB
iPod nano black fatty 8GB
Reply
post #30 of 250
Wow, Lam has got a set of big brass balls:

Quote:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally contacted Gizmodo editor Brian Lam to request the prototype's return the day the story was published on April 19, but Lam refused to do so unless the company provided "confirmation that it is real, from Apple, officially," according to an e-mail message that was also made public.

"Right now, we have nothing to lose," Lam wrote. "The thing is, Apple PR has been cold to us lately. It affected my ability to do my job right at iPad launch. So we had to go outside and find our stories like this one, very aggressively."

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20005018-37.html
post #31 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Much as I like and admire the guy, Jobs is not law enforcement.

Of course not, but the legal team behind his company can bury you when your illegal activities cost his company millions and millions of dollars.

It will be interesting if all of the media attention on a new secret iPhone will have an impact on the next quarterly earnings report. I'd imagine there's a segment out there not buying during April/May/June because they now know this is coming.


Even though the iPhone refresh cycle is obvious to us, it's not to the general public.
post #32 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

You can think what you like, but "copies" in this context (of course) doesn't mean literal functioning facsimiles-- it's referring to the legal language regarding trade secrets and the dissemination of same.

OK, point taken. I wasn't being too serious about it.
post #33 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

The arrogance by the journalist to stall the return of stolen property will cost him. If he were smart he would have visited the main campus, requested a visit with executive staff and returned it over to them in hopes of possibly getting a story.

Instead, he did what he did.

agreed. but nothing ever gets in the way of doing the self-serving thing, does it?
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
Reply
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
Reply
post #34 of 250
"Move along folks....there is nothing to see here."
post #35 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

While I don't think that Chen requesting a formal letter requesting the phone back was legally any more damning than the rest of the episode, ...

Might possibly be considered extortion.
post #36 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

In that line of thinking, doesn't that mean that iFixIt's teardowns are also violations of trade secret laws?

No, why would it?

Ifixit published teardowns of publicly released products. No trade secret protection for those.

This device was a trade secret, as it was not yet released. However, there are stipulations for these protections not apply to trade secrets that have been brought into public. Apple, through an authorized employee, took the prototype out into the public and lost it. Do trade secret protections still apply? Some are going to say they know for sure they do. Others with say with certainty that they do not. But, this will have to be determined by a court. Regardless of where people stand on the issue, they cannot definitively state which way a court would rule. There are, however, cases where the courts have stated that the protection is lost in some where the company did not take necessary and reasonable steps to ensure it's secrecy. That alone is enough to remove the protections. Taking to it a bar, getting drunk and losing might not be considered reasonable efforts to ensure it's secrecy.

If it is found to have still had TS protection in place, then Giz is screwed.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #37 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by OriginalG View Post

In that line of thinking, doesn't that mean that iFixIt's teardowns are also violations of trade secret laws?

Um, iFixIt's publishing teardowns of items Apple has not yet released? Where? I'd like to see it.

Might just be me, but I think the difference, and it is a subtle one, is that this prototype is an unreleased product. Sure, speculation and expectation are that Apple's got a new phone in the works, likely to be released mid-summer as indicated by past models, but was anything announced or shown in any capacity by Apple? Is the item for sale yet? Once its in peoples hands, there's very little a corporation can do to restrict - thus, the microwaving of the iPads and the teardowns at iFixIt. Don't think there's anything illegal about it, once it's a publicly available product.
post #38 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Might possibly be considered extortion.

Except that other than as a titillating fact to include in their article for rumour seekers and Apple fans, the letter wouldn't have any value to Giz. If it was any other company in the world, asking for the letter wouldn't be considered extortion because no one would care to see that proof offered on a blog. The fact that without it their reputation would be in question to all the people that would comment "proof or it's fake", is why they asked for it.

In any other circumstance, asking someone to formalize a request wouldn't be considered extortion.

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply

"My 8th grade math teacher once said: "You can't help it if you're dumb, you are born that way. But stupid is self inflicted."" -Hiro. 

...sometimes it's both
Reply
post #39 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post

or maybe it was all an elaborate plot to get EVERYONE all jazzed up and TONS of free media coverage for what will be a major advance for the iPhone and they will have record sales in the coming quarter.

So you're saying that Apple generally has trouble generating media attention or getting people jazzed up about its new products?

I've heard this suggestion several times now, and it makes absolutely no sense. This might be something that PALM would do, or some other company that never gets anyone's attention anymore. But Apple doesn't even have to make announcements to get press every day, let alone design elaborate plots. Heck, every time a competitor releases a new product, Apple gets free press.

If anything, the leaking of this info early will hurt the level of excitement surrounding the next iPhone. The two weeks leading up to WWDC are bound to be less interesting than they otherwise would have been.

So, no, this was definitely not a deliberate Apple move of any kind.
post #40 of 250
Apple does not have to orchestrate any kind of theatrics to get folks to go nuts over their products, the public is fully aware of how good Apple is at shocking in awe when new products are released. This incident was perpetuated by an incompetent media organization and they will pay the penalty for it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › Affidavit in prototype iPhone case reveals Steve Jobs contacted Gizmodo