Today we know that last weekend Apple sued startup Rivos for alleged theft of employees and trade secrets. According to the company, Rivos has hired more than 40 former Apple employees in the past year working on some RISC-V SoCs which compete with the Apple A Series line of processors for mobile devices and the Apple M Series processors for desktops and laptops.
Apple claims that at least two former high-ranking engineers, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, took “gigabytes of sensitive SoC specs and design files” during his last days of work at Apple. Rivos is accused of launching a “coordinated campaignto get information about Apple’s SoC designs from employees.
“Apple said in the lawsuit that Rivos deliberately tried to hire Apple engineers with access to the tech giant’s trade secrets. He named two former engineers, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, who allegedly kept thousands of files of Apple SoC design and other confidential information for Rivos,” Reuters revealed.
“Rivos, which was founded to design and market its own SoCs, has filled its ranks with dozens of former Apple engineers. Beginning in June 2021, Rivos launched a coordinated campaign to target Apple employees with access to proprietary information and trade secrets about Apple SoC designs Apple promptly sent Rivos a letter informing Rivos of the confidentiality obligations of former Apple employees, but Rivos never responded.
Employees who stole information allegedly used USB drives and AirDrop to download sensitive Apple material onto their own personal devices, as well as to steal presentations on SoCs not yet released and save them to your cloud accounts. Apple believes Rivos communicated with some of the employees through encrypted messaging apps, while former Apple employees involved in the data theft attempted to erase their Apple devices to try to cover their tracks.
In the lawsuit, Apple said that had no choice but to sue the company due to the volume of stolen informationthe nature of the stolen information and that the employees”they are now performing the same tasks for a competitor with continued access to some of Apple’s most valuable trade secrets“.
Bhasi Kaithamanaone of the specific employees accused of data theft, allegedly copied thousands of Apple documents containing “proprietary information and trade secretsover the course of a week in August 2021. He copied the files to his work computer before transferring them to a USB drive, and Apple’s lawsuit details the specific data he collected.
Ricky Wen, a second employee who allegedly stole information, transferred 390 gigabytes of data from his Apple computer to a personal hard drive just before leaving the company. Apple claims to have stolen information about current and unreleased SoCs.
“Between July 26, 2021 and July 29, 2021, Mr. Wen transferred approximately 390 gigabytes from his Apple-provided computer to a personal external hard drive. Among the data transferred are confidential Apple documents describing the secret company’s business offerings , including aspects of the microarchitecture of Apple’s past, current, and unreleased SoCs.”
Other Apple employees not specifically named in the lawsuit also attached external hard drives to their Apple-provided computers shortly after being hired by Rivos and, at the same time, accessed secret Apple business information. on the designs of its SoCs.
Apple seeks injunction against employees who joined Rivos to prevent them from disclosing more sensitive data, compensation for losses caused by misappropriation of trade secrets, and additional damages for the “unjust enrichment“which Rivos obtained from Apple’s data. Instead of damages, Apple is asking Rivos”a reasonable royalty rate“. Apple has requested a jury trial, so it’s likely we’ll hear more about the litigation between Apple and Rivos in the future.