Apple lawsuit says ‘stealth’ startup Rivos stole engineers to steal secrets

The Apple logo is seen at an Apple Store in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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  • Rivos allegedly targeted Apple employees who had secret information
  • The lawsuit says Rivos works on integrated circuits like those that run Apple laptops and phones.

(Reuters) – Tech startup Rivos Inc allegedly stole Apple Inc’s computer chip trade secrets after stealing from its engineers, Apple said in a lawsuit filed in California federal court.

Apple’s Friday lawsuit said Mountain View, California-based Rivos hired more than 40 of its former employees in the past year to work on competing “system-on-chip” (SoC) technology, and that at least two former Apple engineers took gigabytes of confidential information with them to Rivos.

Rivos is a “stealth” startup that has largely avoided public attention since its founding last year. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit.

SoCs are integrated circuits that include multiple computing components on a single chip, including central processing units and graphics processing units.

Apple said it spent billions of dollars and more than a decade of research on its SoC designs, which have “revolutionized the world of personal and mobile computing.”

Apple said in the lawsuit that Rivos deliberately sought to hire Apple engineers with access to the tech giant’s SoC trade secrets. He named two former engineers, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, who allegedly brought thousands of files containing SoC designs and other sensitive information to Rivos.

Kaithamana did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Wen could not be reached for comment.

The suit also says that several other unnamed Rivos employees took sensitive documents when they left Apple, and that the defendants tried to cover their tracks by wiping data from their Apple-provided devices.

Apple said its secrets could be used to “significantly speed up” the development of competing SoCs. He asked the court to stop Rivos from using his trade secrets, order his former employees to return his property and award him an undisclosed amount of money in damages.

The case is Apple Inc v. Rivos Inc, US District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:22-cv-02637.

For Apple: Bryan Wilson, Arturo González and Mary Prendergast of Morrison & Foerster

For Rivers: n/a

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blake brittany

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Contact him at

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