A few weeks ago, we told you that the infamous iPhone 4 prototype case was coming to an end. The two guys that took part in snagging the lost device, and eventually sold it to Gizmodo, are getting their comeuppance.

The two men are facing non-felony charges, with an arraignment set for the end of the week. Although Gizmodo, and their parent company Gawker Media, aren’t involved in the criminal case, the firm has a lot riding on it…

According to CNET, we should hear the court’s decision this Thursday on whether or not the pair are guilty of the misdemeanor theft charges. If they are found guilty, it could open up a door to a much larger court battle.

Gawker Media isn’t being pursued for criminal charges, but Apple could still file a civil suit against the company for monetary damages. And a guilty verdict from the criminal case would certainly stack the odds in Apple’s favor.

CNET explains:

“A conviction of Hogan and Wallower would enable Apple to walk into court and tell a Silicon Valley jury that Gizmodo injured the company by purchasing property stolen from Apple and used that acquisition to undermine Apple’s ability to market the phone.”

If you’ve been following Apple for any extended amount of time, you know how the company feels about protecting its trade secrets. Between that and its history of frivolous litigation, I don’t think it would surprise anyone if Apple sued.

It wouldn’t be the first time that the company has gone after a tech blog either. Back in 2004, Apple slapped Think Secret with a lawsuit for reporting on a new Mac line in the works — the Mac mini. The site has since been shut down.

That being said, it’s not really a matter of would Apple sue the company. The question is, should Apple go after Gawker Media?  Did Gizmodo’s outing of the iPhone 4 hurt Apple’s bottom line, or did it actually help?