This isn’t the first time Apple has sued former employees over leaking classified information.
Apple has filed a lawsuit against its former product designer Simon Lancaster — he worked at the company from 2008 to 2019, writes The Verge, citing the lawsuit. The company accused the designer of leaking information about unreleased Apple products to an unnamed media correspondent.
According to the lawsuit, Lancaster and the journalist began communicating in 2018. In the spring of 2019, he told a reporter that rumors about a new Apple product could hinder the startup he was planning to move to. At the same time, he told a third party that the journalist would publish an article about the startup in exchange for confidential information about Apple.
Lancaster submitted his resignation to Apple in October 2019, but continued to communicate with the journalist-he asked for documents on a certain “Project X”. Apple claims that for this purpose, Lancaster specifically attended the meeting on the project, even after he submitted his resignation.
The company also alleges that Lancaster used his Apple credentials to download sensitive information almost until his job ended. On the last day, he logged in on November 1 — this time to get materials that would help his new employer.
Apple told The Verge that they are taking this case very seriously. According to the company, the theft of ideas and confidential information harms both Apple and customers, and employees who ” work every day on new products, services and features.”
Apple is still investigating the matter, investigating the devices it provided Lancaster with to work with, Bloomberg reports, citing the company. In 2019, the designer moved to work for Arris, an Apple supplier, and may still use the stolen data, according to the company.
Arris was founded in 2017 by Eric Davidson, Ethan Eskowitz, and Riley Reese. The company develops components for cars and has already raised $64.1 million. For example, Forbes and Business Insider wrote about the startup.
Lancaster isn’t the only former Apple employee the company has sued. In 2019, she accused former lead chip architect Gerard Williams III of luring Apple employees to his startup Nuvia — in January, it was bought for $1.4 billion by Qualcomm. Williams claimed that Apple did the same thing and tried to prevent him from hiring workers.
Two former Apple engineers who worked on the company’s secret self-driving car project are still awaiting trial. They were accused by Apple of stealing classified information for a new Chinese employer.