More than 40 Apple employees left in record time last year to join the start-up Rivos, which coincidentally specializes in chip manufacturing. Something to alert Apple, which is now suing this company in California court. And the folder is thick.
A coordinated targeting campaign
The brain drain involved engineers who were working on the first generation of Apple M SoCs. The American giant is convinced that it was a deliberate attempt to steal industrial secrets. He thus denounces a coordinated campaign on the part of Rivos from June 2021 to target competent people and hire them in exactly the same positions. Apple had then sent him a letter to remind him of the obligation of confidentiality to which his former collaborators were subject. But the missive went unanswered.
Apple would also have in its possession evidence of data theft from its former engineers. They allegedly used USB drives and AirDrop to download confidential information to their personal devices or iCloud account, such as the signal MacRumors. Among the stolen data, project presentations of its future SoCs. They would then have tried to cover their tracks. Apple further argues that Rivos would have orchestrated everything by communicating with them via encrypted messaging.
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Apple demands damages
Two employees are named. They are Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen. They would have taken with them thousands of files and hundreds of gigabytes of data between July and August 2021.
Apple said this could allow Rivos to significantly speed up the development of competing SoCs. As a result, the American giant asks the court to ensure that Rivos is prevented from using this information, but also that the former employees return what was stolen and that damages be paid to him.
It must be said that Apple has spent billions of dollars in research and development to develop its own Ax and now Mx chips. This strategy has enabled it not only to become more independent from OEMs, but also to improve the performance of its products, gaining greater control over their design.