Apple is cracking down on accessory makers that design their products based on leaks and rumors

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REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Tim Cook, Apple CEO at the annual Allen and Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho Resort July 11, 2013.

Apple doesn't want its products leaked before the company officially unveils them. But, in what's become a trend over the last several years, third-party vendors have frequently revealed their case and accessory designs ahead of those product announcements, even though their designs are solely based on rumors and reports posted online.

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This, of course, gives accessory makers lots of attention - but their designs are rarely accurate. And Apple, which values its secrecy, has had enough.

So, according to a new report, Apple is putting a kibosh on accessory makers that design based on potential leaks. 9to5Mac reports that Apple is demanding accessory makers sign agreements that disallow them from seeking out or sharing information about future Apple devices.

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Apple's agreement for these third-party vendors is the same agreement Apple Store accessory partners are given, which bans obtaining or relying upon "advance specifications" from "any source other than Apple." That could include information from major news organizations like The New York Times.

Should a case or accessory maker violate Apple's terms, the agreement reportedly threatens accessory makers with losing out on "future business opportunities that Apple and/or its affiliates may present to you."

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Here's more from the alleged agreement:

"…should Apple find that, prior to the release of a product, you have sought, obtained or relied upon specifications of that product from a source other 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 products in our stores."

9to5Mac says some accessory makers have already shirked Apple's agreement, and they've been told their products would be banned from Apple Stores. Some manufacturers that signed Apple's agreement were dropped from the stores anyway.

Citing four sources with first-hand knowledge of the matter, 9to5Mac says Apple may have already recently removed "between 60-70% of third-party cases from its retail stores." Though this could potentially mean Apple is simply making more room in its stores to sell the upcoming Apple Watch, Apple might also be getting more selective about the cases and accessories it chooses to sell in its stores altogether.

You can read the full report at 9to5Mac.

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