Six years later, Apple car secrets thief admits guilt

By cutting a plea deal, the former Titan project engineer is likely to get a break on his maximum 10-year sentence and $250,000 fine.

From Kif Leswing's "Former Apple engineer accused of stealing automotive trade secrets pleads guilty" posted Monday on CNBC:

Xiaolang Zhang, a former Apple employee who was accused of stealing computer files with trade secrets about Apple’s secretive car division, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose on Monday...

Zhang was arrested by federal agents in July 2018 at the San Jose airport, where he planned to fly to China. He had previously worked for Apple since 2015, most recently as a hardware engineer on Apple’s autonomous vehicle team, according to charging documents from the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office.

The charges gave a peek into a secretive side of Apple that the company even years later still doesn’t often acknowledge: its division developing autonomous electric vehicles.

In the 2018 charging documents, an FBI agent said that that company had about 5,000 “disclosed” employees, which means that they knew about the project, and 2,700 “core employees” with access to project materials and databases...

Schematics for circuit designs are considered among the most valuable trade secrets in the electronics industry.

My take: By now those circuit designs are probably rubbish.


  1. Michael Goldfeder said:
    Let’s hope these circuit designs are no longer useful and they were utilized only in Lyme scooters.

    August 23, 2022
  2. Mordechai Beizer said:
    Whether or not the information is now valueless I am all in favor of his getting the maximum sentence “pour encourager les autres.”

    August 23, 2022
  3. John Butt said:
    “ By now those circuit designs are probably rubbish.”

    If you were to start developing designs, then these designs may save years of study. I would predict they still have loads of value.

    August 23, 2022

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