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Apple has reached an agreement with Rivos, the SoC company that it sued in 2022 for theft of trade secrets, reports Bloomberg. Rivos will submit to a forensic examination of its systems to remove any confidential Apple information.

apple-silicon-1-feature.jpg

Rivos hired more than 40 employees from Apple, including several former high-ranking engineers, leading Apple to file a lawsuit in May 2022. Apple accused Rivos of poaching employees and stealing chip trade secrets via those employees. Rivos is designing SoCs that would compete with Apple's A-series and M-series chips.

According to Apple, at least two engineers hired by Rivos took "gigabytes of sensitive SoC specifications and design files" during their last few days at Apple. The employees used USB drives and AirDrop to transfer sensitive Apple material to their own personal devices, and allegedly stole presentations on unreleased SoCs.

Apple asked for an injunction against the employees that joined Rivos to prevent them from continuing to leak sensitive data, and it sought compensation for the loss caused by trade secret misappropriation and Rivos' "unjust enrichment" at Apple's expense. Apple wanted a "reasonable royalty rate" from Rivos on future products, and had requested a jury trial.

Rivos and Apple are aiming to finalize their settlement by March 15, and are working through the remediation process.

Article Link: Apple to Settle Trade Secret Lawsuit With SoC Startup Rivos
 
Last edited:

jz0309

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Sep 25, 2018
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According to Apple, at least two engineers hired by Rivos took "gigabytes of sensitive SoC specifications and design files" during their last few days at Apple. The employees used USB drives and AirDrop to transfer sensitive Apple material to their own personal devices, and allegedly stole presentations on unreleased SoCs
if that is the case, they should be sued separately (which might have happened already) - it's theft, plain and simple
 

jz0309

Contributor
Sep 25, 2018
9,731
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SoCal
hmmh, below is a post from Rivo's LinkedIn page, so there's more to this story


Apple’s Claim Against Rivos Dismissed

On August 11, 2023, United States District Court Judge Edward Davila dismissed Apple’s claim against Rivos. Judge Davila’s order stated that Apple’s complaint “failed to allege facts that would state a claim of improper trade secret acquisition against Rivos, either through Rivos’s conduct in facilitating the transition of Apple employees to Rivos or by Rivos’s purported ratification of its employees’ conduct.”

Apple’s lawsuit, filed on April 29, 2022, alleged that Rivos misappropriated Apple’s trade secrets. From the start, Rivos vigorously disputed Apple’s claim and asked the Court to dismiss Apple’s claim against Rivos. The Court agreed with Rivos and granted Rivos’s motion to dismiss Apple’s claim.

The order also dismissed Apple’s claims against some Rivos employees who are named as individual defendants in the lawsuit. While the Court did not dismiss Apple’s claims against some other individual defendants, that does not mean that these individuals are liable on the merits. Rather, this ruling simply means that, when assuming that all of Apple’s allegations are true as the Court must at the motion to dismiss stage, the Court is allowing Apple to move forward with trying to prove its case against these individuals.

As to Apple’s dismissed claims, the Court did grant Apple leave to amend its complaint within 21 days. This means that Apple can try to bolster its allegations by filing a new version of its complaint. If Apple does file an amended complaint, Rivos will have another opportunity to ask for dismissal and to defend itself on the merits.

Rivos respects the intellectual property of all others and takes seriously its obligations not to use, access, or disclose others’ proprietary information or trade secrets.

Rivos is grateful that the Court granted this motion. Rivos will continue to defend itself and work to achieve a complete resolution of this lawsuit.
 

jlc1978

macrumors 603
Aug 14, 2009
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While the Court did not dismiss Apple’s claims against some other individual defendants, that does not mean that these individuals are liable on the merits.
From what i could gather, Apple claimed the engineers could not use anything they learned while at Apple, clearly over-broad and the judge tossed that while recognizing some misappropriation occurred and let that continue.

Both sides probably decided to settle and move forward.
 

sideshowuniqueuser

macrumors 68030
Mar 20, 2016
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By willingly submitting to a forensic examination of its systems, especially after the court dismissed Apple's first application, it sounds like Rivos genuinely believe they are innocent, at the very least of unknowingly having any of their new employees break any of Apple's trade secrets.

FYI, every company I work for, I always take a copy of all the code I've worked on. Never with any intention to share that company's proprietary work, but merely for my own personal reference to what I've done and how I did it. Sometimes I want to use a similar coding technique, and it's very useful to be able to reference my old code. It's also useful for updating my resume, or doing a refresh before an interview.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
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From what i could gather, Apple claimed the engineers could not use anything they learned while at Apple, clearly over-broad and the judge tossed that while recognizing some misappropriation occurred and let that continue.

Both sides probably decided to settle and move forward.

From what it says, employees were allegedly copying confidential files shortly before leaving-- that's different than using what you learn, that's data theft.

If I were Rivos, and this turned out to be true, I'd fire those employees before they could do the same to me.
 

Exponent

macrumors regular
Jul 17, 2002
247
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Silicon Valley
FYI, every company I work for, I always take a copy of all the code I've worked on. Never with any intention to share that company's proprietary work, but merely for my own personal reference to what I've done and how I did it. Sometimes I want to use a similar coding technique, and it's very useful to be able to reference my old code. It's also useful for updating my resume, or doing a refresh before an interview.
Bzzt! Wrong answer! This is highly, highly illegal, and will land you in big heaps of trouble if caught.

Instead, write personal code on your nights and weekends in the same language you're using at work, but aiming at a different application for the code. This way you have a code base to refer to when you're no longer on the project, and your former employer will have no rights to it.
 

snak-atak

macrumors regular
Mar 9, 2022
245
717
If proven, shouldn't the workers be held personally responsible? That's terrible and unacceptable behaviour.
Agreed, but that’s still not enough. If Rivos is not also held responsible and profits off those docs, then Rivos can still pay off the workers for the stolen data and still come out ahead. Both Rivos AND the employees must be held jointly liable in this case.
 

tranceme

macrumors regular
Jan 10, 2006
247
198
California, US
I don't get it. So, these engineers are smart enough to work SoC. But, then are just plain stupid as to AirDrop/USB stuff the day they are leaving? Especially when they were already on a watch from others being poached.
 
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sideshowuniqueuser

macrumors 68030
Mar 20, 2016
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Bzzt! Wrong answer! This is highly, highly illegal, and will land you in big heaps of trouble if caught.

Instead, write personal code on your nights and weekends in the same language you're using at work, but aiming at a different application for the code. This way you have a code base to refer to when you're no longer on the project, and your former employer will have no rights to it.
Bzzzzt, you assume I live in the same country as you.

My country isn't quite as much about letting the employers own the slaves employees.

I'm not even sure I've even committed a crime in my country. It probably comes down to intended use, and proof of such.
 

svish

macrumors G3
Nov 25, 2017
8,983
23,994
Stealing information is never good. Anyway nice to hear that a settlement has been reached.
 
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flashflood

macrumors newbie
Jan 5, 2022
24
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California
Bzzt! Wrong answer! This is highly, highly illegal, and will land you in big heaps of trouble if caught.

Instead, write personal code on your nights and weekends in the same language you're using at work, but aiming at a different application for the code. This way you have a code base to refer to when you're no longer on the project, and your former employer will have no rights to it.
What if you have photographic memory? Are you obliged to neuralize yourself? The current moral panic about AI training on copyrighted material highlights the absurdity of IP law, because every human who's ever read a book has done the exact same thing.
 
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