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Apple to accessory makers: Don’t you dare build products based on leaks

by Todd Haselton | February 10, 2015February 10, 2015 2:00 pm PDT

iphone-6s-case-featured

Apple is putting its foot down when it comes to accessories that it suspects were built based upon leaked information, according to a report published by 9to5Mac on Tuesday.

As you may know, it’s very popular for case makers to start building new accessories ahead of a product launch, and that doesn’t just apply to Apple gadgets. Sometimes those accessory makers are simply using blueprints that leaked out of the supply chain and, if they’re correct, they can provide a lot of detail in what to expect from an upcoming smartphone. It also gives those firms a head start to getting cases made and ready for mass production ahead of a big launch.

According to 9to5Mac, ahead of the iPhone 6 release, Apple started to ask partners who make accessories for its iPhones to sign special agreements that prevented them from looking for those aforementioned blueprints. Instead, the firms were told to wait to hear about the specs directly from Apple. Should an accessory maker refuse to agree to Apple’s terms, it wouldn’t be allowed to sell its products in Apple Store locations. Apple’s terms are harsh, too: 9to5Mac said that Apple even prevents case makers from creating products based on news articles even in major publications, such as The New York Times.

Here’s one snipped portion of the agreement obtained by 9to5Mac:

Should Apple find that, prior to the release of a product, you have sought, obtained, or relied upon specifications of that product from sources otehr than Apple, Apple may choose to exercise its right to take action against you, which penalties can include, but are not limited to, Apple choosing not to stock your product in our stores.

That could be a huge hit for any accessory maker, especially during a major launch of a new iPhone when folks line up outside Apple Store locations and often buy new accessories for their smartphone in the same purchase. Apple’s terms are so strict that even folks who signed the agreement weren’t allowed to sell products in its locations, 9to5Mac explained.

This might suggest that we’ll see fewer leaked cases ahead of the next iPhone launch, at least if accessory makers want to protect their businesses. As for other smartphones? Well, we’re still seeing plenty of case leaks.

9to5Mac

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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