Apple sued a former employee who had worked for the company for more than a decade, claiming that Apple shared its trade secrets with media contacts in exchange for good coverage of a startup he invested in.
Simon Lancaster (Simon Lancaster) was accused of being a reporter’s source of information, a move allegedly deepened after he left Apple, and shared closely guarded unreleased hardware, unannounced feature changes and the future The details of the product release are based on a complaint filed in federal court on Thursday in San Jose, California.
Apple said: “Due to the misappropriation of Lancaster, these product details were fraudulently released, which undermined the morale of the team engaged in related product and functional research.”
Lancaster is not the only former Apple employee accused of betraying Apple. After he left and founded a startup, Apple sued its former chief chip architect Gerard Williams III in 2019. Williams, accused of poaching Apple employees, claimed in court documents that the tech giant did the same to him.
At the same time, two former Apple engineers working on Apple’s secret self-driving car project are awaiting trial for secret theft of criminal transactions after surrendering to the Chinese company. Neither party pleaded guilty.
Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock (Josh Rosenstock) said: “Tens of thousands of Apple employees are tirelessly researching new products, services and features every day in order to satisfy our customers and empower them to change the world. Hope.” “Stealing ideas and confidential information undermined their efforts and hurt Apple and its customers.”
Apple claims that Lancaster has worked closely with his media sources from the second half of 2018 to 2019, saying that they coordinated to steal specific documents and product details, and sometimes meet in person to exchange information. The Cupertino, California-based company did not disclose media sources or whom they worked for.
In the spring of 2019, Lancaster vented to reporters that he was annoyed by Apple due to reports of rumors about new hardware products, and said that “this may cause trouble for my startup.” According to Apple, Less than two weeks later, Lancaster told a third party that the reporter had promised to publish articles about his startup in exchange for the proprietary information he disclosed about Apple.
Apple said it is still investigating the matter, studying the equipment Apple sent to Lancaster to work. Apple said that after Lancaster resigned in October 2019, he went to work for one of the iPhone manufacturers and may still be using stolen trade secrets.
According to a press release issued by the Berkeley, California-based company in November 2019, Lancaster switched from Apple to Arris Composites. The statement described Lancaster’s new role as head of consumer products and his background in making product materials and prototypes at Apple.
Neither Lancaster nor Arris Composites immediately responded to emails seeking comment on Apple’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit was previously reported by AppleInsider and The Verge.
The case is Apple v. Lancaster, File 21-cv-01707, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose).
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