Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) is suing a former employee for allegedly divulging its trade secrets to a media correspondent.
What Happened: The employee, Simon Lancaster, who worked as a product design architect at the Tim Cook-led tech giant was accused of abusing his position and trust within Apple to disseminate “sensitive trade secret information in an effort to obtain personal benefits,” in a lawsuit filed Thursday in a federal court in California.
Apple alleges that after Lancaster resigned his role as the correspondent’s “source” deepened.
The former employee is accused of stealing and sending to the correspondent details of unreleased hardware products, unannounced feature changes to existing hardware products, and future product announcements, all of which Apple said it “guards closely.”
Apple said in the lawsuit that it “carefully controls all information” regarding its research and development surrounding unannounced products.
“The Apple teams working on these products expend substantial time and energy to ensure that the process remains secret. Further, those teams often spend multiple years working on secret products that they cannot discuss outside work in light of the required secrecy.”
Why It Matters: Apple accuses Lancaster of misappropriating portions of trade secret information which are directly related to his new employer, a former vendor for Apple.
“In fact, on his last day at Apple, Lancaster downloaded a substantial number of confidential Apple documents from Apple’s corporate network onto his personal computer that would benefit his new company,” said the tech giant in its filing with the court.
Lancaster’s LinkedIn profile page indicates he left the Cupertino, California-based tech giant in Nov. 2019 after working 11 years and 6 months at the company.
In Nov. 2019, he joined as head of consumer products at Arris, a Berkeley, California-based company that operates in the manufacturing technology realm.
Last October, Apple sued a former recycling partner over the alleged theft of 100,000 devices.
Price Action: Apple shares closed 1.65% higher at $121.96 on Thursday and gained 0.24% in the after-hours session.
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