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Originally published Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Apple tells Gawker to knock off hunt for rumored tablet

Apple said Gawker Media's "Scavenger Hunt" promotion, offering as much as $100,000 for details about a rumored Apple tablet device, is illegal...

Bloomberg News

Apple said Gawker Media's "Scavenger Hunt" promotion, offering as much as $100,000 for details about a rumored Apple tablet device, is illegal and should be stopped because it encourages trade-secret theft.

The promotion, announced by Gawker Wednesday on its Web site, offers $50,000 for a photo or video of Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs holding a tablet, and $100,000 if the Gawker staff can play with it for an hour.

"We believe you and your company have crossed the line by offering a bounty for the theft of Apple's trade secrets," Michael Spillner, a lawyer for the company, said in a letter Wednesday to Gabriel Snyder, editor-in-chief of the Gawker Web site. Snyder posted the letter Thursday.

Apple hasn't given any information on the product or confirmed whether it exists. The company will unveil the tablet later this month and release it in March, a person familiar with the company's plans said last week. After more than a year of speculation by analysts and bloggers, Gawker said it aims to tease out some bit of evidence that the product is real.

"The main reason we launched our scavenger hunt in the first place was that for all the talk and talk and talk about the impending Apple Tablet, there has not been one iota of proof that the thing actually exists," Snyder said in a Gawker post.

The letter from Apple's lawyers is "the most concrete proof" that the tablet product exists, he said.

Snyder said Thursday he is still accepting entries for the contest. "So far just a lot of Photoshop jobs," he said in an e-mail.

Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, confirmed that the letter was sent on the company's behalf. When asked about a potential tablet product, Dowling said Apple doesn't comment on rumors and speculation.

The company gave Gawker until 9 p.m. New York time Thursday today to agree to stop the program and turn over confidential materials it receives or risk further action by Apple.

Kodak sues Apple,

Research in Motion

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak said Thursday it is suing Apple and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion over technology related to digital cameras in their iPhone and BlackBerry smartphones.


Kodak filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging the iPhone, Apple's hottest gadget, and Research in Motion's camera-enabled BlackBerry devices infringe on a Kodak patent covering technology for previewing photos.

Kodak is asking the federal agency that oversees trade disputes to bar Apple and RIM from shipping the phones.

Kodak also filed separate lawsuits against Apple in U.S. District Court in Rochester, claiming an infringement of patents related to digital cameras and certain computer processes. It is asking for unspecified monetary damages and a court order to end the disputed practices.

Sales of iPhones and BlackBerrys aren't immediately threatened. Patent cases can take months or years to resolve, and agreements over licensing and royalty payments often emerge.

RIM and Apple officials declined to comment.

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