Apple lawsuit says ‘stealth’ startup Rivos poached engineers to steal secrets

The Apple logo is seen at an Apple Store in Brooklyn, New York, U.S. October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Register now for FREE unlimited access to
  • Summary
  • Law firms
  • Related documents
  • Rivos allegedly targeted Apple employees who had secret info
  • Lawsuit says Rivos working on integrated circuits like those running Apple laptops, phones

(Reuters) – Technology startup Rivos Inc allegedly stole Apple Inc’s computer-chip trade secrets after poaching its engineers, Apple said in a lawsuit filed in California federal court.

Apple’s Friday lawsuit said Mountain View, California-based Rivos has hired over 40 of its former employees in the past year to work on competing “system-on-chip” (SoC) technology, and that at least two former Apple engineers took gigabytes of confidential information with them to Rivos.

Rivos is a “stealth” startup that has largely avoided public attention since its founding last year. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Apple declined to comment on the lawsuit.

SoCs are integrated circuits that include several computer components in a single chip, including central processing units and graphic processing units.

Apple said it spent billions of dollars and more than a decade of research on its SoC designs, which have “revolutionized the personal and mobile computing worlds.”

Apple said in the lawsuit that Rivos purposely sought to hire Apple engineers with access to the tech giant’s SoC trade secrets. It named two former engineers, Bhasi Kaithamana and Ricky Wen, who allegedly took thousands of files with SoC designs and other confidential information to Rivos.

Kaithamana did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Wen could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit also said several other unnamed Rivos employees took confidential documents when they left Apple, and that the defendants tried to cover their tracks by wiping data from their Apple-issued devices.

Apple said its secrets could be used to “significantly accelerate” the development of competing SoCs. It asked the court to block Rivos from using its trade secrets, order its former employees to return its property, and to award it an undisclosed amount of money damages.

The case is Apple Inc v. Rivos Inc, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 5:22-cv-02637.

For Apple: Bryan Wilson, Arturo Gonzalez, and Mary Prendergast of Morrison & Foerster

For Rivos: n/a

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Blake Brittain

Thomson Reuters

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at

Read More

Margarete Pekar