Apple has reached a possible settlement with Rivos, the Mountain View startup it accused in 2022 of poaching its employees and stealing its trade secrets. In the companies’ filing seen by Bloomberg and Reuters, they told the US District Court for the Northern District of California that they have signed an agreement that “potentially settles the case.” Their deal would allow Apple to conduct a forensic examination of Rivos’ systems, as well as of its activities.

When Apple sued Rivos, it said the startup led a “coordinated campaign” to hire away employees from its chip design division. Apple also accused the defendant of instructing the employees it hired away to steal presentations and other proprietary information for unreleased iPhone chip designs that cost billions of dollars to develop. Rivos countersued Apple last year, accusing the larger company of restricting employees’ ability to work elsewhere and of hindering emerging startups’ growth by using anticompetitive measures.

The court dismissed Apple’s trade secret claims against Rivos in April 2023, though the company was allowed to file a revised complaint. Apple already settled with its six former employees who filed a countersuit against Apple along with Rivos after they dropped their claims against each other last month. Both companies are now requesting the court to put their cases on hold until March 15, when they expect the settlement to be completed.

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