Apple could defeat Gizmodo in court, but lose a lot more than a few iPhone spec leaks

When Gawker media purchased a lost — or stolen — iPhone last month, the company set in motion a fascinating story that has much less to do with the specs of Apple’s latest product than the state of journalism online and the procurement of information in a digital world. The notoriously secretive Steve Jobs was none too pleased that his latest prototype made it into the wild early. But the company’s legal strategy is yet more proof that companies that win in court do not always win over potential customers.

What’s a scoop worth? Sometimes, not much — even online

If you’re an online publisher in the tech space, you probably have reason to envy Gawker Media. After all, one of its properties, popular tech gadget blog Gizmodo, recently broke what Gawker Media owner Nick Denton himself has billed “pretty much the biggest tech scoop ever.

That scoop, of course, is the ‘lost‘ next-generation iPhone. As the story goes, Denton purchased it for $5,000 from the man who found it in a bar after an Apple employee left it behind.