Defendants Apple, Steve Jobs and Sarah Jessica Parker
Apple 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.
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.