Adobe sues site over Photoshop piece

The graphics titan told a US District court that Mac News Network illegally solicited documents on its next-generation image-editing package and claims its damages could run into eight figures
Written by Dennis Sellers, Contributor

Adobe Systems is suing Macintosh News Network, a Mac-focused Web site, for misappropriation of trade secrets after MacNN ran details of Adobe's forthcoming Photoshop 6 and ImageReady 3 graphics packages.

The company is demanding a jury trial over the incident and claiming damages to the tune of eight figures.

In the complaint filed 31 May with a Californian district court Adobe is filing for "an action for an injunction and damages arising out of Macintosh News Network's acquisition and disclosure of Adobe's confidential information and misappropriation of Adobe's trade secrets in violation of the Trade Secrets Act, California Civil Code."

The lawsuit says that of MacNN and AppleInsider (a rumour site MacNN operates) obtained an unauthorized copy of the detailed feature guide for Photoshop 6 and ImageReady 3 and published a four-part 'preview' of both products on the AppleInsider site.

In the document, Adobe claims the two unreleased products are presently "in a highly proprietary and very early developmental form" and that "both the existence of these new development versions and their features" are Adobe's trade secrets.

The AppleInsider story included several images of menus and screens from Photoshop 6 and ImageReady 3 and large blocks of text taken verbatim or nearly verbatim from Adobe's Detailed Feature Guide, according to the lawsuit.

Adobe says MacNN "willfully and maliciously misappropriated" certain company trade secrets and "confidential and proprietary information." The suit also says that on the AppleInsider Web site and MacNN "activity solicits individuals to anonymously submit confidential trade secret information for publication on the World Wide Web."

Adobe claims that it will suffer "irreparable harm and damage" and "suffer lost sales of products currently on the market" due to the story. What's more, the AppleInsider report means Adobe's competitors "will have the advantage of knowing the details of Adobe's newest products" months before they reach the marketplace, the lawsuit says.

Adobe's suit requests temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining MacNN and all its employees from "engaging in further unlawful acts".

Adobe wants MacNN to provide it with all copies of its products, trade secrets or "proprietary and confidential" information that it has.

Finally, Adobe says it wants to recover the amount of actual damages it says it has sustained as a result of MacNN's "wrongful actions." According to the lawsuit, those damages could "conservatively amount to tens of millions of dollars".

"We actively protect our intellectual property and copyright," Meme Rasmussen, Adobe senior corporate counsel, told MacCentral. "The article from AppleInsider was based on unauthorised information. We have a responsibility to our customers and shareholders to protect our business interests."

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