Apple has sued a Santa Clara-based startup and two former Apple employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets to build a competing chip lineup. 

It alleges Rivos organized a “coordinated campaign” to lure Apple employees and induce them to copy private documents before resigning, breaking their contract with Apple.

The dispute sets one of the world’s largest technology businesses against a much younger rival, which Apple believes obtained an unfair edge by recruiting dozens of its employees in order to get access to internal information.

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The suit states: “The sheer volume of information taken, the highly sensitive nature of that information, and the fact that these employees are now performing the same duties for a competitor with ongoing access to some of Apple’s most valuable trade secrets, leave Apple with few alternatives.”

Rivos was formed in May 2021 and has been operating in stealth mode for months, hiring workers from major tech companies.

Apple claims that more than 40 of its former engineers were involved, many of whom were familiar with Apple’s system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs.

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Ex-Apple employees cited in the claim, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, were both longtime Apple engineers who had worked for nearly eight and 14 years respectively.

Both had signed an intellectual property agreement (or IPA) prohibiting them from exposing confidential information.

Apple is seeking monetary damages as well as an order requiring Rivos to handover any confidential material.

Source: The Verge

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