Affidavit in prototype iPhone case reveals Steve Jobs contacted Gizmodo

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
«13456713

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 250
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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...
  • Reply 2 of 250
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,558member
    Please wake me when someone goes to jail.
  • Reply 3 of 250
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    This was mentioned from some site awhile back. Apparently Jobs called and abruptly said, "GIVE ME BACK MY PHONE!".
  • Reply 4 of 250
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,733member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 250
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,101member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 250
    ihxoihxo Posts: 562member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 250
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 250
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member
    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!"
  • Reply 9 of 250
    benicebenice Posts: 382member
    "Chen created copies of the iPhone prototype in the form of digital images and video".



    I don't think so.
  • Reply 10 of 250
    cgc0202cgc0202 Posts: 624member
    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
  • Reply 11 of 250
    goldenclawgoldenclaw Posts: 253member
    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!
  • Reply 12 of 250
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 250
    originalgoriginalg Posts: 380member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 250
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,453member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 250
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 250
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,667member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 250
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 250
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 250
    tulkastulkas Posts: 3,733member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 250
    originalgoriginalg Posts: 380member
    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)
Sign In or Register to comment.