Apple has reportedly threatened at least one Chinese citizen with legal action over the sale of stolen iPhone prototype hardware, according to a new report.
In a sign of escalation in its war against leakers, Apple sent a cease and desist letter to a Chinese citizen who advertised stolen iPhone prototypes on social media, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Motherboard.
The report says that lawyers for Apple sent a letter to a Chinese citizen dated June 18, 2021. The letter demands that the seller "stop acquiring, advertising, and selling leaked Apple devices", as well as demanding a list of people who provided leaked devices. The letter reads:
"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 secret... Through investigation, Apple has obtained relevant evidence about your unauthorized disclosure of Apple's unreleased and rumored products...Your intentional infringement is specifically manifested as: publishing unpublished information about Apple's new products through social media platforms, including but not limited to the design and performance of these new products."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.
In June it emerged that Apple had sent a legal warning to the world's most accurate Apple leaker, Kang, over the sharing of highly accurate Apple information. Multiple leakers reportedly received the warning.