It happens specially for well known companies (e.g. Apple, Garmin, etc.) that some features of their products leaks into the media before the announcement. I was wondering what are the economical effects of these leaks on the company and how strong are they?
If the leak is close to a release date, I would say most of these are made on purpose, to feed expectations, leading to greater attention and publicity (and sales). I don't see how this can be negative for the company. In technological firms, most of the features are patent-protected so they cannot be copied anyway. However, if the leak were to happen long before a release, this could indicate rivals potential direction of own developments (either copying them or moving away/further than the competitors).
Maybe the question is related to the literature on knowledge leakage, which relates to R&D, knowledge management, knowledge sharing, etc.
One recent paper mentions some of the costs:
Knowledge leakage has various negative effects on firms, including loss of revenue, damaged reputation, loss of productivity and costs arising from breached confidentiality agreements (Ahmad et al., 2014). It also decreases bargaining power and even creates new competitors for the original knowledge owner (Baughn et al., 1997). Therefore, when an employee leaks knowl- edge that is rare, inimitable and non-substitutable, recovery from such leakage can be very challenging (Ahmad et al., 2014; Barney, 1991, 1996).
The same paper states that :
Firms traditionally attempt to protect their innovation-based competitive advantages with intellectual property rights (IPRs), trademarks, copyrights or other knowledge-protecting mechanism
I suggest you look into those references if you want to get further insights.