Last year, reports showed some senior Apple engineers departing the company to join a mysterious startup called Rivos, which is believed to be working on a high-performance CPU design.
According to a lawsuit filed by Apple, at least two of the engineers who joined Rivos received gigabytes of confidential information, part of a "coordinated campaign" initiated in June 2021.
According to Bloomberg, other former Apple employees shared confidential documents when they were allowed to join Rivos, and they tried to hide these actions by wiping their Apple devices.
"Apple has reason to believe that Rivos advised at least some Apple employees to download and install apps for encrypted communication (e.g., the Signal app) before communicating with them further," Apple wrote in the complaint.
Some of the alleged trade secrets covered information about Apple''s M1 and A15 chips. Apple said it has spent billions of dollars and more than a decade of research on its SoC designs, which have "revolutionized the personal and mobile computing worlds."
Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wenare are accused of breaching intellectual property agreements they signed while at Apple, which prohibited them from copying confidential proprietary information during their time at the company, and of returning any related materials before they left.
Apple is requesting that the court prevent Rivos from using its trade secrets, or that their former employees return its property, and award it an unidentified amount of money damages.
Apple is still in the process of suing former high-level chip designer Gerard Williams III for allegedly violating his contract and exploiting Apple technology in his company, Nuvia.