“U.S. authorities on Monday charged a former Apple Inc employee with theft of trade secrets, alleging that the person downloaded a secret blueprint related to a self-driving car to a personal laptop and later trying to flee the country, according to a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,” Stephen Nellis reports for Reuters.

“The complaint said that the former employee, Xiaolang Zhang, disclosed intentions to work for a Chinese self-driving car startup and booked a last-minute flight to China after downloading the plan for a circuit board for the self-driving car,” Nellis reports. “Authorities arrested Zhang on July 7 at the San Jose airport after he passed through a security checkpoint.”

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“Xiaolang Zhang, who joined Apple in December 2015, designed and tested circuit boards to analyze sensor data,” Kadhim Shubber reports for The Financial Times.

“The complaint alleged that Mr. Zhang took parental leave in April 2018 and traveled with his family to China,” Shubber reports. “When he returned later that month, the filing said he told Apple he would be resigning and moving back to China, where he intended to take a job with Xiaopeng Motors, a Chinese electric car start-up with offices in Guangzhou and Palo Alto, California.”

Shubber reports, “‘Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously,’ an Apple spokesperson said. ‘We’re working with authorities on this matter and will do everything possible to make sure this individual and any other individuals involved are held accountable for their actions.'”

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MacDailyNews Take: In this case, red flags abound.