Apple sues former chip designer for breach of contract, working on chip startup Nuvia

nanoguy

TS Addict
Staff member

Last month, three former Apple chip execs launched a new company called Nuvia to take on established silicon giants like AMD and Intel on the data center market. It turns out that Apple isn't happy about the new development, and is suing Nuvia founder Gerard Williams III. In the filing, which was submitted to the Santa Clara Superior Court in August, the company alleges that Williams violated contractual terms before he left to pursue his new venture.

Williams led the design of Apple's A-series chips found in iPhone and iPad for nine years before he decided to leave the company last February.

Nuvia recently convinced investors to commit $53 million in funding to accelerate its growth. But Apple says Williams started his planning work on Nuvia back when he was still working at Cupertino. In doing that, he violated an intellectual property agreement that said he wasn't supposed to work on anything that would be competitive with what Apple offers.

Apple is also upset about the fact that Williams managed to poach several of its engineers to help him on his new venture to create power-efficient server chips. Nuvia says that several of the provisions Apple uses in its contract violate California state laws, which favor employee mobility.

Nuvia notes that "Apple, an early beneficiary of the creative forces that formed and continue to drive Silicon Valley, has filed this lawsuit in a desperate effort to shut down lawful employment by a former employee."

Indeed, there are several notable examples of companies that were started in a similar way, such as Intel, which began with a team of former Fairchild employees in 1968. Apple's case would definitely hold more substance if it were similar to that between Google-owned Waymo and Uber, where an engineer stole trade secrets from the former in order to give an unfair advantage to the latter.

Apple believes "this case involves a worst-case scenario for an innovative company like Apple: a trusted senior director with years of experience, and years of access to Apple’s most valuable information, secretly starts a competing company leveraging the very technology the director was working on."

Apple's claims ignore that Nuvia was co-founded by Manu Gulati and John Bruno, both of which worked at several other tech giants like Broadcom, AMD, and Google before embarking on the new venture.

Nuvia fired back at the accusations by raising questions about how Apple was able to collect evidence to make its case.

The complaint has Apple admitting it monitors employees' phone records and text messages. Apple claims it's a privacy-centric company, and CEO Tim Cook has been calling for "rigorous" federal privacy regulation, but this lawsuit makes it look like the epitome of hypocrisy.

The two companies have a hearing scheduled for January 21, 2020. In the meantime, Apple can at least relish the fact that it managed to purchase Intel's modem business for $1 billion, which the latter thinks is a rotten deal.

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VitalyT

Russ-Puss
TechSpot Elite
As much as I like using Apple products from time to time, nothing could beat the joy of seeing the company collapse under its own weight. Apple is a dying star in the cancer constellation.

This would make a small step toward restoring my faith in humanity.
 
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tkabou

TS Addict
As much as I like using Apple products from time to time, nothing could beat the joy of seeing the company collapse under its own weight. Apple is a dying star in the cancer constellation.

This would make a small step toward restoring my faith in humanity.
You don't have to destroy a company to make the world a better place. Apple is the least of the proverbial "bad apples" out there - Android, Windows, etc are all collecting and selling far more info than iOS. They just need to change their practices, not close up shop. Had you owned some Apple stock you'd sing another tune.
 
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VitalyT

Russ-Puss
TechSpot Elite
You don't have to destroy a company to make the world a better place. Apple is the least of the proverbial "bad apples" out there - Android, Windows, etc are all collecting and selling far more info than iOS. They just need to change their practices, not close up shop. Had you owned some Apple stock you'd sing another tune.
The company does not stand for anything that was intended by its creator. Now it only cares for maximizing profit, capitalizing on the gullible, and exploiting third-world countries. I'm not interested in their stock.
 

jgraham11

TS Enthusiast
At first I thought Apple got the information from emails going through its own servers, at the end it sounds more like because they were using Apple devices, Apple accessed their Iphone text messages.

I didn't know Apple could/would do that, that's not cool for a company who preaches privacy to exploit the very thing they preach about!!!

I will never allow another Apple product in my home again, burn in flames Apple!
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
In multiple cases (over 100) P&G and Lever Brothers have fought over scientists and managers jumping ship for the other over these very same things and, to date, the courts have ruled in favor of the employee over the company over the simple right to work for a living. In this case Apple is going to have to prove, with hard facts, the intended tort and that the individual did, in fact, start working on his project "on Apple's time". That, my friends, is a considerable mountain to climb .....
 

Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
Apple says Williams started his planning work on Nuvia back when he was still working at Cupertino. In doing that, he violated an intellectual property agreement that said he wasn't supposed to work on anything that would be competitive with what Apple offers.
Is it competitive though? Apple aren't in the server market, period. Is creating a company to produce an ARM based CPU for the data center market that big of a deal for Apple? Is this a sign that Apple were gearing up to sell an Apple server that was using an ARM based CPU?

Or have I got the completely wrong end of the stick?