Friday, November 06, 2009, 07:45 am PT (10:45 am ET)
Bizarre lawsuits connect Apple with Sarah Jessica Parker, Lil' WayneApple is the defendant in two recent, offbeat lawsuits, including one filed by an artist who alleges he invented and named the iPod and iPhone in the 1980s, only to have Apple and actress Sarah Jessica Parker steal his trade secrets.
Defendants Apple, Steve Jobs and Sarah Jessica Parker
In 1989, the suit alleges, plaintiff Franz A. Wakefield won first place in the 17th Congressional District Arts Competition and was honored by Congressman William Lehman and movie stars Parker and Robert Downey Jr. A self-described "trade secret and copyright owner," Wakefield, of Miami, Fla., is president and chief product design engineer with COOLTvNETWORK.com.
In meeting these people, Wakefield alleges he was asked by the congressman to disclose his "trade secrets" to the FBI, including the concept of the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone, the last of which he allegedly specifically named nearly 20 years prior to its debut.
The suit claims that Wakefield also developed a friendship with Parker and "made a trade secret deal" with her to commercialize the iPod classic, nano, mini, shuffle, video, touch and photo, as well as iTunes and the iPhone. The supposed agreement would have granted Parker 2 percent of gross revenues from the products. Wakefield said he asked the FBI to watch over him to ensure the security of his inventions and deal with Parker.
"Before allowing his trade secrets and copyright works to be used by the Defendants, 'WAKEFIELD' in confidence documented his trade secrets with Congressman William Lehman and the Federal Bureau of Investigations," the suit reads. "'WAKEFIELD' also requested that The FBI seize his visual art and sketch book which contained the documented secrets and requested that the FBI surveil him as he completed the trade secret deals to commercialize the secrets into products with 'SJP' and other representatives. 'WAKEFIELD' communicated the trade secret deal with the Defendant 'SJP,' his trade secrets, which includes the IDENTICAL name brands for iPod, iTunes (iTunes Store) and the iPhone, along with drawings and paintings of the IDENTICAL product designs and various models in various views."
Per his "deal" with Parker, Wakefield claims the actress agreed to meet with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to present his concepts, including the sale of songs via iTunes at $0.99.
Wakefield's suit claims he attempted to contact Parker in 2006, only to be told by her attorney that she has no recollection of any conversations regarding the iPod.
He also wrote a letter to Jobs in October, which is included with the suit filed Monday in a U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.
"This letter is to serve as a DEMAND for payment," he wrote Jobs. "Otherwise I will seek legal recourse for the immediate cease and desist from the manufacture, marketing, and sale of all the iPOD, iTunes, and Iphone lines; along with pursuing damages from the products sold to date, unjust enrichment caused by the theft, enforcement of the agreed 2% gross revenues on all sales, and any other applicable damages or compensation."
The suit also includes a complaint Wakefield filed with the FBI in 2007. That document mentioned other complaints against Nintendo and Cordis Corp. filed with the bureau dating back as far as 1993.
Apple named in suit against rapper Lil' Wayne
A Florida man has included Apple along with rappers Lil' Wayne and Birdman in a lawsuit that alleges his voice was used on records without his permission.
Apple is named alongside Wayne, real name Dwayne Carter, and Birdman, also known as Brian Williams. Other defendants include Universal Records, Cash Money Records, Universal Motown Republic Group, Universal Music Distribution Services, Real Networks, Yahoo, and Does 1-10.
Florida man Thomas Marasciullo was mentioned in the liner notes of Wayne's "Like Father, Like Son" album, but the plaintiff believes he is owed money by the defendants for the inclusion of his "Italian-styled" spoken words on two of the artists' records, according to The New York Daily News. The album is available for sale on the iTunes Music store.
The complaint was filed on Oct. 30 in a Manhattan Federal Court.
As a major corporation, Apple is routinely hit with lawsuits on a variety of subjects — some very strange. This summer, a suit attempted to link the Cupertino, Calif., company to the Italian mafia. The man alleged that the two conspired to secretly track him, transmit threatening messages to his iPod, and insert the word "herpes" into the song "Still Tippin'" by Mike Jones.
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