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Apple sues former chip designer for breach of contract - [crime-law]
05:38 PM EST - Dec,10 2019 - post a comment

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." 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."

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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