Apple has filed a lawsuit against a former employee, Simon Lancaster accusing him of gaining information on projects outside of his scope and leaking the trade secrets and plans of new products for personal benefits.
Lancaster was a product designer at Apple for 11 years and left the company to set up a materials research and development company, Arris. It was positive publicity in the media for this firm that Lancaster deliberately leaked sensitive information to the unnamed correspondent.
Apple sues its former lead for procuring and selling company’s trade secrets to media correspondent
In his LinkedIn profile, Lancaster mentions that during his tenure at Apple, he held multiple titles to work on various products such as ‘Advanced Materials and Prototyping lead, Core Integration Architecture‘, ‘Macbook Product Design Architect and Advanced Materials and Prototyping Lead‘, Product Design Architect, Advanced Development’ for MacBook touch bar, and ‘Advanced Process Development Engineer, Manufacturing Design‘ for iPad, iPad mini, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, iMac, Magic Mouse, and other accessories.
Because of his diverse profile, he was able to access information on on-going and new projects. The court filing states that in 2018 Lancaster got in touch with the media correspondent and over the years provided him with inside information sent from company-given and personal devices.
He used his seniority to gain access to internal meetings and documents outside the scope of his job’s responsibilities containing Apple’s trade secrets, and he provided these trade secrets to his outside media correspondent (“Correspondent”). TheCorrespondent then published the stolen trade secrets in articles, citing a “source” at Apple. On multiple occasions, Lancaster proposed that the Correspondent give benefits to Lancaster in exchange for Apple’s trade secrets.
For example, Lancaster proposed that the Correspondent provide favorable coverage of a startup company in which Lancaster was an investor as a quid pro quo. Lancaster even recruited the Correspondent to serve as his personal investigator. In one instance, Lancaster requested that the Correspondent explore a rumor that could prove harmful to a company in which Lancaster had invested.
Lancaster’s role as the Correspondent’s “source” deepened even after heannounced his resignation from his role at Apple. Indeed, Apple’s internal investigation of theApple-owned devices provided to Lancaster as part of his employment shows that after Lancasterannounced his resignation, he communicated with the Correspondent regarding specific Appletrade secrets sought by the Correspondent and took specific steps to obtain additional Apple tradesecrets.
Clearly upset by the ordeal, Apple told The Verge that it will do whatever it takes to protect its innovations developed by hardworking Apple employees.
“Tens of thousands of Apple employees work tirelessly every day on new products, services and features in the hopes of delighting our customers and empowering them to change the world. Stealing ideas and confidential information undermines their efforts, hurting Apple and our customers. We take very seriously this individual’s deliberate theft of our trade secrets, violation of our ethics and our policies, all for personal gain. We will do all we can to protect the innovations we hold so dear.”
Read the complete document here.