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Apple has filed a Lawsuit against a Chip firm for Allegedly Stealing Trade Secrets

Rivos, according to the firm, was behind a “organized campaign” to poach its staff.

A business has been accused of stealing Apple’s trade secrets. Rivos, a “stealth-mode” business based in Mountain View, California, is accused of leading a recent “organized attempt” to kidnap employees from Apple’s chip design section, according to a complaint filed Friday.

Apple claims that at least two former employees moved gigabytes of confidential material to Rivos, according to Reuters, the first newspaper to report on the complaint. Bloomberg claims that presentations detailing unpublished chip designs were among the information that those individuals allegedly took.

According to the complaint, “Apple has grounds to suspect that Rivos directed at least some Apple workers to download and install programs for encrypted communications (e.g., the Signal app) before engaging with them further.” Apple has been contacted for comment.

If the case goes through, it’ll certainly garner a lot of attention, similar to Waymo’s action against Uber in 2017 for obtaining secret knowledge about its self-driving technology. After years of litigation, Uber agreed to a $245 million settlement, and a judge sentenced Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the centre of the dispute, to 18 months in prison until former President Donald Trump granted him a pardon.

Apple filed a lawsuit(Opens in a new window) in a US district court last Friday against Rivos, a stealthy firm that is reportedly building competitor semiconductors. During their final days at Apple, the employees transferred gigabytes of crucial information concerning chip designs, resulting in the theft of trade secrets.

Rivos “began a systematic campaign to target Apple workers with access to Apple proprietary and trade secret knowledge about Apple’s SoC (system-on-chip) designs beginning in June 2021,” according to the lawsuit.

Apple claims that the critical chip designs were lifted using numerous USB flash drives and Apple’s AirDrop service. The claim continues, “Others saved lengthy presentations on existing and unreleased Apple SoCs tagged Apple Proprietary and Confidential to their personal cloud storage devices.” “One even backed up his complete Apple gadget using Time Machine to a personal external drive.”

In addition to Rivos, the lawsuit accuses Wen Shih-Chieh and Bhasi Kaithamana, two former Apple CPU design engineers, of committing some of the intellectual property theft. Both employees signed non-disclosure agreements, according to Cupertino, prohibiting them from disclosing Apple’s technology.

Rivos did not respond to a request for comment right away. Little is known about the company, which Apple claims was created in May 2021. However, the company’s website states that it is based in Mountain View, California, and that it is seeking “full-time and internship roles available in Austin, TX and Mountain View, CA.”

Rivos’ CTO, Belli Kuttanna, was a former Intel fellow, and its CEO, Puneet Kumar, was a director for Chrome OS at Google.

Apple, on the other hand, claims to have spent billions of dollars and a decade developing its Arm-based semiconductor designs for the MacBook and iPhone. “Select Apple engineers have access to some of Apple’s most tightly guarded proprietary and trade secret information as is necessary for their cutting-edge work,” the lawsuit claims.

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