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Apple agreed to settle with Rivos over claims of theft of chip trade secrets

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Apple may have reached a potential agreement to end legal battles with the startup Rivos, which was previously accused of stealing trade secrets and poaching employees.

Apple sued Rivos in 2022, accusing it of stealing engineering and trade secrets about the design of its chips so the shadowy startup could improve its own product. After nearly two years, the two companies are finally close to ending their dispute.

In a joint lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seen by Reuters, Apple and Rivos “have signed an agreement that potentially resolves the case.” As part of the agreement, there is a provision for “correction of Apple's confidential information based on forensic examination of Rivos systems and other actions.”

Apple and Rivos ask the Court to stay the lawsuit and waive all stays until March 15, 2024, when the actions forming part of the settlement are expected to be completed.

Claims of document theft

In the original lawsuit, Apple claimed that a couple of employees took gigabytes of files from Apple to use Rivos. The items stolen reportedly included thousands of documents about Apple's internal projects, as well as some about its system-on-chip designs.

Although two were named in the original lawsuit, other employees who joined Rivos from Apple reportedly committed similar thefts, including one using AirDrop and multiple USB drives, and another using a backup Time Machine. . Rivos was also accused of advising some employees to use encrypted messaging apps, and some tried to cover their tracks by deleting data and wiping drives.

It turned out that one employee was conducting Internet searches for “when you lose a lawsuit, what will you have to pay” and “poaching people after leaving the company for a year.” They also sought information about attorney fees for losing parties.

A year later, Rivos countersued, accusing Apple of giving its employees restrictive contracts that prevented them from seeking employment elsewhere.

Apple has since settled a number of related lawsuits against six former employees who joined Rivos.

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