Apple sues ex-worker for selling trade secrets to a journalist

Apple has sued a former MacBook designer for allegedly selling trade secrets and details about unreleased products to a tech journalist.

According to AppleInsider, the company has sued Simon Lancaster, a veteran product design architect, for allegedly selling trade secrets to an unnamed publication in exchange for gaining publicity for his next venture after leaving the tech giant.

“Despite over a decade of employment at Apple, Lancaster abused his position and trust within the company to systematically disseminate Apple’s sensitive trade secret information in an effort to obtain personal benefits,” the iPhone maker said in a court document made available on Thursday.

“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,” the document further said.

According to Apple’s lawsuit, Lancaster and the journalist started communicating in 2018 about the possibility of obtaining information.

“Lancaster had sent the correspondent specific details upon request, sometimes using Apple-issued devices and other times in person. The trade secrets divulged included product plans for unannounced devices and updates to existing lines,” the report mentioned.

After Lancaster left Apple, he joined a materials research and development company called Arris.

Arris is an Apple vendor, which enabled Lancaster to continue to “siphon trade secrets”.

On Lancaster’s last day at Apple, he allegedly downloaded a “substantial number” of confidential Apple documents from the corporate network onto his personal computer.

According to media reports, Lancaster worked on the 13-inch and 15-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar redesigns, along with “unreleased Apple products.”

Apple has brought three direct causes of action against him — violation of Defense of Trade Secret Act, violation of California Uniform Trade Secret Act, and a breach of written contract.