After a lengthy legal battle, the California district court has issued its decision in the case of Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple employee.
Zhang has been sentenced to four months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and must pay $146,984 in damages.
This legal saga began in 2018, when the FBI and Apple launched a joint investigation into claims of trade secret theft.
It was discovered that Zhang allegedly stole sensitive company information about Project Titan, Apple’s codename for its upcoming smart electric vehicle (EV) venture.
After leaving the United States and relocating to China, the former employee began a new career with XMotors, a Chinese startup focused on autonomous vehicle technologies.
It was during this time that Apple first noticed Mr. Zhang’s evasive behaviour and took action.
Zhang’s network activity at Apple and use of Apple devices provided significant evidence of his clandestine activities.
His role as an engineer working on the development of multiple products for Project Titan became clear.
Zhang worked on a variety of projects at Apple, including the design and testing of circuit boards that could interpret sensor data.
As the investigation progressed, it became clear that Zhang had illegally obtained a plethora of files from Apple’s repositories, including a 25-page dossier outlining the engineering schematics of a circuit board designed for autonomous vehicles.
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