Former Apple employee faces criminal charges over trade secrets leak

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What you need to know

  • A former Apple employee is facing criminal charges for leaking trade secrets.
  • Simon Lancaster allegedly leaked trade secrets to the media.
  • He has asked a civil suit against him be suspended whilst criminal proceedings take place.

A former Apple employee who faces a civil lawsuit over allegations of leaking trade secrets is also now facing a criminal investigation.

As noted by 9to5Mac, Simon Lancaster has filed for a stay of civil proceedings against him now that a criminal investigation is underway.

The motion says that both actions proceedings would put Lancaster "in the untenable position of having to choose between exercising his constitutional right against self-incrimination and defending himself in the civil action."

Lancaster is being sued by Apple over claims he purposefully accessed sensitive information and sold it to a media outlet. The suit states:

Despite over a decade of employment at Apple, Lancaster abused his position and trust within the company to systematically disseminate Apple's sensitive trade secret information in an effort to obtain personal benefits. He used his seniority to gain access to internal meetings and documents outside the scope of his job's responsibilities containing Apple's trade secrets, and he provided these trade secrets to his outside media correspondent.

In its civil case against Lancaster Apple is seeking a jury trial and injunctive relief including damages and restitution. Lancaster reportedly revealed information about upcoming new products as well as updates to existing products and was cited as a "source" within Apple. Lancaster spent 11 years at Apple and worked as Advanced Materials Lead and Product Design architect. He helped develop the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and is named as the inventor of over 40 patents, according to Arris Composites who hired him in 2019.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9