Apple sues chip startup for alleged theft of trade secrets

The company alleges a company called Rivos led a "coordinated campaign" to poach its employees.

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Igor Bonifacic
May 2, 2022 10:17 PM
In this article: lawsuit, news, gear, SoC, Apple
BARCELONA, CATALONIA, SPAIN - 2022/04/26: American multinational technology company Apple logo seen at its store entrance in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images via Getty Images

Apple has accused a company of stealing its trade secrets. In a complaint filed Friday, the tech giant claims Rivos, a “stealth-mode” startup based out of Mountain View, California, led a recent “coordinated campaign” to poach employees from Apple's chip design division.

According to Reuters, the first publication to report on the lawsuit, Apple alleges at least two former employees took gigabytes of confidential data with them to Rivos. Among the information those individuals allegedly stole are presentations that detail unreleased chip designs, reports Bloomberg.

“Apple has reason to believe that Rivos instructed at least some Apple employees to download and install apps for encrypted communications (e.g., the Signal app) before communicating with them further,” the company says in the complaint. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.

Should the case move forward, it’s likely to draw a significant amount of attention, much like Waymo's suit against Uber for stealing confidential information about its self-driving technology did in 2017. After years of litigation, that case ended with Uber agreeing to settle for $245 million, and with a court sentencing Anthony Levandowski, the engineer at the center of the dispute, to 18 months in prison before former President Donald Trump issued a pardon.

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