Apple's Chip Trade-Secrets Suit Against Startup Can Move Forward, Judge Rules
US District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose said Apple had “sufficiently identified” a trade secret and alleged “sufficient harm” by three former employees.
Apple Inc.'s suit alleging startup Rivos Inc. poached its engineers to steal trade secrets used to develop its homegrown chip designs can move forward against some of the workers, a federal judge in California ruled Friday.
US District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose said Apple had “sufficiently identified” a trade secret and alleged “sufficient harm” by three former employees. The judge rejected requests to dismiss a Defend Trade Secrets act claim against three former Apple employees as well as a breach of contract claim against five.
The judge threw out Apple's trade secret claims against Rivos, but gave the iPhone maker a chance to file a revised complaint.
The dispute revolves around “system-on-chip” technology that shrinks multiple computer elements into a small chip, which Apple says it has invested billions of dollars in to make its devices more powerful.
Apple claimed in the suit filed last year that Rivos, which has hired dozens of Apple engineers, began a “coordinated campaign” in June 2021 to target its employees.
The former employees left and joined Rivos after stealing “highly-sensitive” proprietary and trade secret information about Apple's “system-on-chip” designs, including its M1 laptop and A15 mobile phone chips, according to the complaint.