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?

  • James

    Sure they should, they sue everybody else lol

  • No, and you guys aint helping. Gizmodo didn’t bought stolen goods…they bought a lost iPhone.

    • Greg

      In California, purchasing “lost goods” is a crime.

    • Jason Masters

      They didn’t buy is what you meant.

  • Adam

    The iPhone was left behind, who wouldent pick up the phone? after all it was the new iphone, a new design no one had ever seen it before? who would just walk past it and never mention it? who would not take it home and tell someone about it? The fault lies in the original Apple Person that left the phone behind. It was not stolen from inside apple or from a Apple employee. It was an iphone that was missplaced and then found. Sueing them for revelaing the new iPhone is ridiculos! The guy shouldent have left it in the first place! Thw only reason it was revealed was because of Apple itself!

  • XepptizZ

    If i may Interject, i remember there being a tweak which would display the contact name on every sms bubble. Can someone tell me the name of he dang thing?

  • Just because you “find” something, does not mean it belongs to you.

    Once they realized what they had, they could have easily returned it to Apple, not opened it, photographed it and blogged the photos and descriptions all over the web.

    So, the right thing to have done was to simply return it to Apple.

    However, that being said….

    The publicity for Apple was HUGE, my personal opinion is that it really boosted my interest in the iPhone 4 (which I purchased several months later).

    Apple with their $75 Billion in cash could not have purchased the “buzz” and media attention that this “sexy” story gave to them!!! In my opinion, Apple owes the employee who “lost” it, the guy who “found” it and especially Gizmodo & Gawker a HUGE THANK YOU!!!

    – Eric

    • Burge

      If I remember they did try to return it…and the person at apple didn’t believe the caller when he said he had found the device…because the person at apple new nothing about the device….this blog even covered that ,..

      • That is no excuse.

        They could FedEx it over to Apple either to the attention of Steve Jobs or Legal Department.

        Done!

    • Andrew

      Is it illegal to photograph an item you find before you return it?

  • Mark

    Fencing is illegal, so, even though I don’t want them to, Gawker Mdeia can be up for a big lawsuit. Plus, even though it may not sound like it, the people technically did steal it.they could have at least sent it in because leaking it is useless cuz everyone takes it as a “grain of salt.”

  • COMsucksDONKEYcock

    Who gives a crap about crApple and it’s stupid iPhone. My question to this fan boy site is why are all you putzs supporting a company guilty exporting American jobs to Chinese sweatshop guilty of worker abuse resulting in suicide’s? Explain yourselves suckas.

    • Brett

      Plenty of people care about Apple and iPhone. Apple is a technological leader, and iPhone the most popular smart phone in the world.

      Everyone uses cheap overseas labor. It’s not just Apple. Was your own personal phone manufactured in the USA?

      I’m not saying that Working conditions shoudln’t be improved, but the suicide rate among Foxconn employees is lower than that of the general population in China. It could be argued that the jobs added by Apple to the Chinese economy have a net effect of lowering suicides!

      Haters gotta hate.

  • Telejeesus

    Apple suck donkey balls

  • nick

    I just hope Gawker gets sued because I hate Gizmodo, I have no idea how they’re in business anyway. The writers act like retarded 10 year olds…