On March 12th, court documents released on Thursday in the US local time showed that Apple sued Simon Lancaster, a former product designer and material director who had worked for it for 11 years, for allegedly stealing and Leak business secrets to the media in exchange for positive reports on their startups.
Apple stated in the indictment: "Although Lancaster has worked for Apple for more than ten years, he abused his position within the company and the trust he gained, and systematically leaked Apple’s sensitive trade secret information in order to obtain personal information. Interests. He used his qualifications to access internal meetings and documents containing Apple’s trade secrets outside the scope of his job responsibilities, and provided these trade secrets to external media reporters who had contact with him." In this way, the trade secrets stolen by Lancaster were released.
The indictment also stated that after leaving Apple, Lancaster had closer ties with reporters. Apple investigated the company equipment used by Lancaster, determined that he had been in long-term contact with reporters, and discovered how he could obtain more Apple trade secrets. Lancaster sent specific product details to the reporter at the request of the reporter, sometimes using equipment provided by Apple, and other times using private equipment. His leaked trade secrets include product plans for unreleased equipment and updates to existing production lines.
Lancaster started working at Apple in 2008 and worked for the company for 11 years as a senior material supervisor and product design architect until he resigned on November 1, 2019. His responsibilities include evaluating materials and prototyping innovations to support future generations of products. Allegedly, Lancaster helped redesign the 13-inch and 15-inch Macbook Pro with Touch Bar, as well as "unreleased Apple products." Because of his high position, he was granted access to certain Apple confidential information.
After leaving Apple, Lancaster joined a materials research and development company called Arris Composites as the head of consumer products. Apple said that Arris is also its supplier, which allows Lancaster to continue to steal its trade secrets. On the last day before leaving Apple, Lancaster downloaded "a large number" of Apple's confidential files from Apple's corporate network to his personal computer, which would benefit him at Arris.
The media reporter involved in this case contacted Lancaster for the first time on November 29, 2018. After that, the two parties exchanged multiple confidential information about Apple through phone calls, text messages and emails. Lancaster later told reporters that he would leave Apple in October 2019 and asked if they would write an article about "A senior person who has worked at Apple for 12 years left Apple to go to an amazing start-up. The company’s story. He was referring to Arris, who worked with Apple.
Apple said in a statement: "Tens of thousands of Apple employees are tirelessly developing new products, new services and new features every day, hoping to please our customers and give them the ability to change the world. Stealing ideas and destroying confidential information Their efforts have hurt Apple and our customers. We take the theft of our trade secrets very seriously, which violates our ethics and the bottom line of policy. We will do our best to protect our innovations.”