Apple Settles Trade Secrets Lawsuit with Chip Startup Rivos

Apple has decided to settle a lawsuit with chip startup Rivos. This decision comes two years after Apple first initiated legal action against Rivos for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

Background of the Lawsuit

The conflict began in May 2022 when Apple sued Rivos, a “stealth-mode” startup. Apple accused Rivos of poaching its engineers who had access to confidential company information.

The lawsuit claimed that these former employees took proprietary information about Apple’s System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designs at Rivos’ request as part of their recruitment.

The Accusations and Counteractions

Apple’s complaint detailed that starting in June 2021, Rivos began targeting Apple employees with access to sensitive SoC designs and information. The tech giant alleged that gigabytes of sensitive specifications and design files were stolen.

In response, Rivos filed its own lawsuit against Apple in September 2023, accusing the company of using intimidation tactics to prevent its engineers from leaving.

The Settlement

According to recent filings, Apple and Rivos have informed a judge of their intention to finalize a settlement by March 15. The agreement includes a forensic examination of Rivos’ systems to remediate any confidential information from Apple. Both parties are currently working through this process.

Previous Legal Battles

This is not the first time Apple has been involved in legal disputes over trade secrets. In April 2023, Apple quietly withdrew a lawsuit against former executive Gerard Williams III, who left Apple in 2019 to start a server chip startup Nuvia. By the way Nuvia was acquired by Qualcomm in 2021 after that.

Implications for the Industry

The settlement between Apple and Rivos highlights the intense competition and secrecy surrounding the development of advanced technology in the chip industry. It also underscores the challenges companies face in protecting their intellectual property in a highly competitive market.

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