In March, Apple filed a lawsuit against its former materials leader, Simon Lancaster, for allegedly stealing “Project X” trade secrets, leaking them to the media, and more. Now Lancaster has formally submitted its response and, while denying the main allegations of leaking company secrets, admits to speaking with a specific reporter while at Apple and asking for “favorable” stories from a new company.
As we wrote earlier, in its lawsuit against Lancaster, Apple claimed that:
He used his senior position at Apple to “gain access to internal meetings and documents outside the scope” of his job as a materials leader at Apple. In fact, on his last day at Apple, November 1, 2019, he allegedly downloaded a “substantial amount” of confidential Apple documents.
Apple says those Project X trade secrets could have been used in his next job playing the same role at Arris, who, by the way, is a supplier to Apple. However, another important part of this lawsuit is that Apple claims that Lancaster had been communicating with a journalist a year before leaving Apple and also after his resignation. At the time, Apple claims that it traded private inside information about Project X to gain positive media coverage of a startup it invested in.
Apple also called Lancaster a “continuing misappropriation threat” given its ongoing work at Arris.
Seen by Nicholas Ciarelli, Lancaster filed its response to the lawsuit yesterday. He denies Apple’s main allegations that he abused his senior position, leaked trade secrets and violated the contract he had while with the company. But he also admitted parts of Apple’s claims.
Regarding speaking to the press:
Lancaster admits that he contacted a journalist covering technology issues related to Apple products and workplace issues that he deemed to be in the public interest, namely alleged corruption within Apple’s supply chain and among managers of Apple’s supply chain.
However, he says he “lacks sufficient knowledge or information to admit or deny” the accusation that he is the source of the articles published by the reporter referred to by Apple.
But Lancaster confirms that he asked the reporter to publish “stories favorable to a start-up in which Lancaster had invested, but denies that such requests were in exchange for any information discussed with the reporter or that they had anything to do with confidential Apple information. ».
Additionally, he also admits that he spoke to that same tech reporter about Apple products “after he announced his resignation from Apple.” But it denies the legal conclusions of Apple’s allegations.
We’ll have to wait to see how this one plays out, but there’s certainly a lot going on here.
Attention tech reporters: Former Apple employee sued in March, claiming he had leaked trade secrets to a journalist, filed his response yesterday. pic.twitter.com/TBhwzotI9v
– Nicholas Ciarelli (@nickdeplume) May 4, 2021
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