Apple engineers are accused of stealing semiconductor secrets using AirDrop and Time Machine

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Apple is suing Rivos, a stealth firm, for stealing engineers with access to sensitive business secrets.

According to the lawsuit, Apple thinks former workers took confidential material at the request of Rivos as part of the recruitment process.

While nothing is known about Rivos at the moment, the startup’s job postings largely target silicon engineers.

Apple claims Rivos wants to create processors that compete with its own, but the firm thinks Rivos is doing so using confidential Apple knowledge.

Beginning in June 2021, Rivos launched a concerted effort to target Apple personnel with access to Apple proprietary and trade secret information concerning Apple’s SoC designs, Apple claims in its lawsuit.

Prior to the case, Apple issued Rivos a letter in which it explained the confidentiality obligations to which its former workers were subject, but the company did not respond.

In this case, Apple also accuses departed staffers recruited by Rivos of taking “gigabytes of critical SoC specs and design information.” According to the filing:

Some used multiple USB storage drives to offload material to personal devices, accessed Apple’s most proprietary specifications stored within collaboration applications, and used AirDrop to transfer files to personal devices. Others saved voluminous presentations on existing and unreleased Apple SoCs—marked Apple Proprietary and Confidential—to their personal cloud storage drives. One even made a full Time Machine backup of his entire Apple device onto a personal external drive.

In its lawsuit against Rivos, Apple mentions two former engineers from its chip team who joined Rivos last autumn.

Apple’s lawsuit seeks torecover its trade secrets, safeguard them from future exposure, and determine the entire scope of their usage in order to attempt to minimize the damage that has occurred and will occur.

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