Apple is suing its former lead chip designer for founding a startup

NUVIA CEO accused of breaching contract.

Apple is suing former employee Gerard Williams for allegedly breaching terms of his employment contract and loyalty.

Gerard Williams is the former chief architect of iPhone and iPad chips (A-series chips). Due to engaging in activities that are related to Apple’s chipmaking business, Apple believes he is breaking the terms of his employment agreement. 

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Williams, along with other former Apple employees Manu Gulati and John Bruno, started a chipmaking company NUVIA in early 2019.

Moreover, Apple claims, Williams started secretly working on his startup while he was the director of platforms. At that time, he had access to Apple’s most valuable information. 

Williams hit back

Williams has claimed that the breach of the employment contract is not enforceable under California law, and Apple has no grounds. He has further challenged Apple for spying and collecting his private text messages with other Apple engineers, which is used as evidence in its complaint. So far, Apple has not indicated that any of its employees have consented to their text messages.

A hearing is now scheduled for January 21, 2020. 

Last month, NUVIA raised $53 million in funding from Dell Technologies Capital and several Silicon Valley firms, which helped it expand to about 100 employees. NUVIA leadership aims to design chips that can deliver industry-leading performance and energy efficiency for the cloud servers and data centers. 

The founders’ trio has more than 100 patents under their name related to system engineering and silicon design. Besides Apple and Google, they held roles at ARM, Broadcom, and AMD.

Apple has hired former ARM top chip designer Mike Filippo in June as Williams replacement.

You can see the filed case Apple v Williams[PDF] via The Register.

READ: Regulators investigate Apple Card for gender discrimination

Featured image: Getty

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