Apple has reportedly threatened leakers in China with legal action.
According to a new report from Vice, Apple has reportedly threatened at least one Chinese citizen with legal action over the sale of stolen iPhone prototype hardware.
It is quite common for resellers in China to get their hands on stolen iPhone prototypes through Foxconn and Apple employees and then sell them for a premium to collectors.
Now, it looks like Apple is coming down heavily on such resellers after first sending out legal warnings to many reliable leakers last month. Vice now reports that Apple’s law firm in China, Fangda Partners, sent a cease and desist letter in June to a reseller demanding that they “stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices”, as well as demanding a list of people who provided leaked devices.
“You have disclosed without authorization a large amount of information related to Apple’s unreleased and rumored products, which has constituted a deliberate infringement of Apple’s trade secrets,” the letter read.
“Through investigation, Apple has obtained relevant evidence about your unauthorized disclosure of Apple’s unreleased and rumored products,” the letter continued. “Your intentional infringement is specifically manifested as: publishing unpublished information about Apple’s new products through social media platforms, including but not limited to the design and performance of these new products.”
The seller themselves claimed that Apple wants to know “how the information leaked” and “how the leaked items in the supply chain were sold to certain people.” The report notes the leaks pertain to the iPhone, but it does not say if this concerns Apple’s rumored upcoming iPhone 13, or perhaps a previous device like the iPhone 12 or earlier.
It is unclear what actions Apple intends to take against resellers who do not comply with their request. Whatever the case might be, it is clear that Apple is coming down on leakers and resellers, potentially foreshadowing that we might not get as many leaks for future upcoming Apple products.