Apple has filed a lawsuit against a former employee who allegedly leaked the company's trade secrets to a news agency for more than a year, for personal gain. Simon Lancaster, a former product engineer and architectural designer, is accused of abusing his position to gain access to information outside of his field of work. Lancaster reportedly exchanged data it stole from the tech giant in exchange for positive reports about a startup company he worked for after leaving Apple.
Lancaster worked for 11 years at Apple, where he was involved in prototyping and hardware design, including the Macbook, iPad, and iMac.
The court documents that were unsealed in the federal court of California on March 11 state the following: "Despite working for Apple for more than ten years, Lancaster abused his position and the company 's trust in him to steal and leak systematic confidential trade secrets in an effort to gain personal gain. He took advantage of his "seniority" to gain access to internal meetings and documents outside the scope of his work, which contained Apple trade secrets, and provided these trade secrets to the external media correspondent in exchange for its favorable coverage. Arris Composites, a startup material design company in which he joined in November 2019 as head of consumer products ".
The news of the lawsuit, which first came to light by Apple Insider, states that Lancaster began talks with the agency's correspondent on November 29, 2018, keeping in touch with him throughout the following year via phone calls. , SMS and email. Exchanged information about unreleased Apple products, sudden feature changes to existing products, and information on future product announcements.
In addition, Lancaster reportedly began meeting the agency's correspondent in person in September 2019 and exchanging physical documents and other information.
According to Apple, communication between the two continued after Lancaster's resignation, with the correspondent publishing the stolen trade secrets in articles, citing "a source" within Apple. The lawsuit also alleges that the stolen information may have been misused to this day.
Among the trade secrets that Lancaster allegedly revealed, include updates to existing Apple products, as well as plans for new devices. In addition, Apple Insider points out that the iPhone maker discovered after an internal investigation that Lancaster used his corporate devices several times to send the confidential information requested by the correspondent. The investigation also revealed that Lancaster "took specific steps to obtain additional Apple trade secrets."
Lancaster submitted his resignation from Apple on October 15, 2019 and started working at Arris Composites. He is accused of receiving a "significant number" of confidential Apple documents from his corporate network on his personal computer during his last day on the computer. The information he allegedly stole would be beneficial for his new role in Arris Composites.
Apple accuses Lancaster of many breaches, including breach of trade secret law and breach of written contract.