Apple's legal team is clamping down on Mac rumour site, Think Secret, laying the legal smack down against the website publisher.

The move - designed to protect Apple's trade secrets - also adds weight to many of the rumours circulating through the world's media outlets that relate to Apple's product launch plans next week.

Leaks and rumours may have become a larger-scale problem for Apple today, as its wild success with iPod and iTunes means the world's media is more interested than ever in what Apple CEO Steve Jobs will announce next.

Think Secret publisher, Nick DePlume is being sued along with "other unnamed individuals" in a suit filed yesterday in California.

True rumours or misinformation?

Apple has added grist to the rumourmill because the court filing identifies certain articles which it identifies as containing secrets: such as a headless iMac, iWork and more.

Apple wants to identify the person (or persons) responsible for feeding information to the site; it will most likely aim for an injunction against the gossips in order to prevent further disclosures. It also wants "unspecified damages" from the company.

The company is notoriously secretive, with some industry observers slamming it as "paranoid", its retentiveness makes it a hard company to work with, or for, many have said.

Competitive market needs

Apple argues that such leaks help competing firms react, and impact against the media attention given to its products.

"Unauthorized disclosures diminish the interest of both the mainstream and trade media in the launch of a new product," it told Cnet

Apple also stressed that the company: "Does not seek to discourage communication protected by the free-speech guarantees of the United States".

The truth is out there

This is the third legal challenge from the Cupertino company in recent weeks: It's also suing two developers it claims released versions of its as-yet unreleased Tiger operating system using peer-to-peer technologies; it's also prosecuting individuals it claims disclosed news on a forthcoming GarageBand music device.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will deliver his keynote speech at Macworld Expo Tuesday January 11 at 9am (5pm UK time).