Apple sues former employee over new chip venture

Apple is suing a former employee who started Nuvia, a server chip startup that has hired at least 8 former Apple employees, for breach of contract.

Ina Fried for Axios:

Apple filed suit against Nuvia founder Gerard Williams III in Santa Clara Superior Court back in August, alleging breach of contract and breach of duty of loyalty. Apple is seeking an injunction, punitive damages and other remedies.

Williams spent 9 years at Apple, most recently as a senior platform architect, designing chips for the iPhone and iPad.

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, and the same teams he was working with, while still employed by Apple. — Apple, in the introduction of its suit

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 … To further intimidate any current Apple employee who might dare consider leaving Apple, Apple’s complaint shows that it is monitoring and examining its employees’ phone records and text messages, in a stunning and disquieting invasion of privacy. — Nuvia, in court documents responding to Apple’s suit

MacDailyNews Take: Ooh, palace intrigue and the potential for secrets to be spilled in discovery! One problem springs immediately to mind for Apple: California state laws regarding non-competes and the like are very pro-employee. As for “invasion of privacy,” if Williams’ phone and texts were while he was employed with Apple, using Apple equipment and/or services, it’s within Apple’s purview to access them to protect the company’s trade secrets. Any properly managed company monitors its employees’ phone records and text messages via company-provided devices and services.

So, obviously, this Nuvia venture is not at all supported by Apple. We look forward to hearing more as this case proceeds.


  1. As one who has succeeded in not being sued (twice) from the clutches of a non-compete, but also careful not to divulge trade secrets, it’s three things that matter:


    Companies most certainly do NOT own you.

    1. You probably didn’t get sued because you didn’t do anything worth suing about. For a non-compete agreement to matter you have to, you know, be able to compete in the first place. People who can compete don’t spend their time endlessly yapping on fan sites like you. They are far too busy. You on the other hand have time to get in the last word on every single person who ever replies to you.

    2. If you read the complaint it is saying that he started the company while still employed at Apple and used technology that his team was developing, on the clock, at Apple. This is not about a non-compete, this is about corporate espionage and trade secretes.

      Companies most certainly DO own the work you do while you are in their employment and on the clock.

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