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icoola > blog > Apple has sued a former employee
10 April 2021

Apple has sued a former employee

Apple has filed a lawsuit accusing one of its former employees of stealing the company's private data. According to its head, the information was passed to reporters.

Eleonora Rusanovska

The court documents state that designer Simon Lancaster systematically abused his official position. With the trust of management, he gained access to the company's confidential secrets and passed them on to third parties. This was done for personal gain. Lancaster worked for Apple for about eleven years. According to the plaintiff, he has recently been involved in closed commercial meetings, based on Simon's impeccable reputation, which he gained while working for the firm.

For the most part, these secret meetings discussed issues related to new Apple products that are planned to be launched into production. Negotiations were also held with specialists who proposed changes to the existing software. Lancaster had access to classified documents and minutes of meetings, made copies, and passed them on to outside correspondents. All publications were labeled "Apple's source."

apple office

In exchange for spreading trade secrets, Simon received benefits for posting information about the startup, for which he was an investor at the time. But this is just one version of exactly how Lancaster benefited from violating the company's rules on the dissemination of confidential information. According to other sources, Simon hired a reporter to conduct an independent investigation. He was to act as his personal investigator. This was done to confirm or refute rumors about a company in which Lancaster had invested heavily.

Even after the designer resigned, he continued to work with the reporter. Articles with a reference to Apple regularly appeared in the media. Having access to the company's servers, he easily found the necessary information, "merged" it was on third-party media. According to the statement of claim, Lancaster invented a way to obtain additional data on products in Apple. The designer managed to capture even those of them, which were carefully guarded by special systems. These actions have led to the fact that the world-famous company was in a rather awkward position compared to competitors.

law

The plaintiff's company officials accused Simon of weakening Apple's leadership in the electronics market. They claim that producers of such products, having access to valuable information, can anticipate further actions of "Apple". And some of them even use certain technological schemes in the process of manufacturing their gadgets.

The actions of the designer led to the fact that in a relatively short period of time the efforts of Apple employees to create unique products were thwarted. Each specialist, developing a new service or feature of gadgets, hoped for a lot of positive feedback from satisfied users. The plaintiff is still concerned that Lancaster continues to work with the correspondent. This is only an assumption because there is no concrete evidence. But the company's representatives still included this issue in the lawsuit.

apple sued employee

According to colleagues of the designer, on the last day of work at Apple, he "uploaded" to his personal computer information that can benefit competing firms. The company's key management states that it takes this deliberate theft very seriously and is doing everything possible to further protect the information.

According to official data, Simon Lancaster worked as an Apple designer for about eleven years. During all this time, he has not taken a single step towards breaking the law.

The designer's account includes projects such as the thirteen- and fifteen-inch MacBook Pro with an updated touch bar design, as well as other products that were not announced at the time.

lawsuit

In November 2019, Lancaster resigned and joined Arris Composites as head of consumer goods. He chose this place, not by chance. For several years, Simon was one of the investors in this firm. Before leaving the old job forever, the former designer ordered a high-profile article from a journalist he knew. It said that the veteran of Apple has found an unsurpassed startup. But such a publication had its price. In response to the service, the reporter forced Lancaster to obtain information about Project X - a new "apple" product. At that time, Simon's machinations were not yet known. Therefore, he was invited without hesitation to a closed meeting. This was the last scam of the designer, after which he quietly resigned.

The plaintiff alleges that Lancaster primarily violated the rules of the Commercial Secrets Act, as well as the California Uniform Act and the rules of the written contract.  The company is demanding a trial involving a jury and the recovery of moral and material damages from the former designer. Besides, the plaintiff is trying to transfer to Lancaster all court fees. It is still unknown how this whole story ended.

court

As it turned out, Simon was not the only one who used his official position for selfish purposes. It is known about another former Apple employee, who was sued. He is the architect of chips Gerard Williams. He was considered a leading specialist of the company during his tenure.

But in 2019, it became known that Williams offered employees to move to work for his startup Nuvia. He does not feel guilty and is sincerely surprised by the lawsuit. Also waiting for trial are two former Apple employees who held the positions of engineers. They worked on the design of unmanned vehicles. They were accused of illegally seizing information about Chinese employers.

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