Apple filed a lawsuit against Rivos, a RISC-V startup that has hired several former senior Apple employees.
According to the lawsuit, Rivos allegedly stole Apple’s Silicon Socs trade secrets by hiring over 40 specialized SoC engineers who previously worked for Apple.
Rivos is a “stealth” startup that has mostly eluded public exposure since its inception last year.
According to Apple’s indictment, Rivos began a campaign in June 2021 to target Apple employees with access to proprietary and classified information about SoC designs. Apple got wind of this and sent Rivos a letter informing it of the former Apple employees’ confidentiality obligations.
Some of the employees had taken gigabytes of SoC specifications and design files in their final days of employment at Apple, the lawsuit states.
They used USB storage media to make backups. Also, according to Apple, they used Airdrop to transfer files to personal devices. Others stored data about existing and future Apple SoCs in their cloud storage. An employee reportedly made a full Time Machine backup of his entire Mac onto his own external drive. According to the lawsuit, some employees deleted information or their Apple devices to cover their tracks.
Apple is asking for an injunction against these former employees so that it can block them, preventing them from exploiting the stolen data. Clearly, the company is also asking for compensation for the damage caused in addition to the benefits obtained with the material stolen from Apple.