FBI charges former Apple employee with stealing trade secrets from self-driving car project

The Verge | 7/10/2018 | Sean O'Kane
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An engineer who worked on Apple’s secretive autonomous car project allegedly stole trade secrets for a Chinese car startup backed by Alibaba, according to new charges filed by the FBI.

Xiaolang Zhang, who worked for Apple from December 2015 until May 2018, has been charged in federal court with stealing trade secrets, and faces 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Zhang was arrested trying to leave the country this past weekend. The news was first reported by The Mercury News.

Apple - Confidentiality - Protection - Property - Spokesperson

“Apple takes confidentiality and the protection of our intellectual property very seriously,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to The Verge. “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.”

Zhang designed and tested circuit boards as part of the compute team of Apple’s autonomous car project, according to the federal complaint, which was filed this week in California’s Northern District. In it, the company says that Zhang returned from a month of paternity leave at the end of April, and informed his supervisor at Apple that he was resigning so he could spend time with his ailing mother in China. In that meeting, Zhang also shared that he planned to work for an electric car startup in China called Xiaopeng Motors.

Guangzhou - Xiaopeng - Motors - Technology - Xpeng

Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, or known simply as Xpeng, was founded in 2014 by mobile internet entrepreneur He Xiaopeng. The company was founded shortly after Xiaopeng’s mobile browsing business, UCWeb, was acquired by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in what was, at the time, the biggest merger in the country’s history. In January of this year, Xpeng raised $350 million in a Series A round of financing led by Alibaba and Foxconn. And just last week, The Information reported that...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Verge
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