Apple has fired two former employees, including an Indian-American, in its lawsuit against tech startup Rivos Inc., for allegedly stealing trade secrets from a computer chip. This caseFiled May 6 in a federal court in San Jose, California, he said two former engineers, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, claimed to have “received thousands of files into Rivos with SoC designs and other classified information.”
According to information in the lawsuit, Austin, Texas-based Kaithamana worked for Apple for nearly eight years as a Senior Engineering Manager (CPU Design). He worked on the lawsuit “in coordination with other Apple employees at Apple’s facilities in Cupertino, California, including when the facts underlying this Complaint occurred” through August 16, 2021 at Apple’s facilities in Austin, Texas. The lawsuit adds that Kaithamana currently works at Rivos as the CPU Application Leader.
He had signed an intellectual property agreement (or IPA) “accepting jurisdiction in California and location in Santa Clara County,” which prohibited him from disclosing proprietary information.
The lawsuit alleges that Kaithamana copied a series of spreadsheets, presentations and text files to an external USB drive under the name ‘APPLE_WORK_DOCS’ before leaving in August 2021.
Similarly, a San Jose, California resident, Wen worked as a CPU design engineer employed by Apple and at Apple’s facilities in Cupertino, California, until August 6, 2021. usually on Hardware Engineering at Rivos.
The lawsuit describes Rivos as a “secret venture” that has largely avoided public attention since it was founded in May 2021. Apple says Rivos has hired more than 40 engineers, most of whom are familiar with Apple’s system-on-a-system. He added that chip (SoC) designs encourage employees to copy work-related documents in large numbers before leaving the job.
Apple said it has spent billions of dollars and more than a decade of research on SoC designs that are “revolutionizing the personal and mobile computing worlds.”
Noting that its secrets could be used to significantly accelerate the development of rival SoCs, Apple asked the court to prevent Rivos from using its trade secrets, order its former employees to return their properties, and pay it an undisclosed amount of monetary compensation.