Unsealed GT Advanced Court Documents Give Insight Into Apple's Business Practices

Though Apple and GT Advanced fought to keep documents related to their sapphire agreement sealed after GT's bankruptcy filing, a judge recently ruled that the documents did not contain trade secrets and would be largely unsealed.

One of those documents, an unedited affidavit from GT Advanced COO Daniel Squiller, gave insight into the terms of the deal between the two companies, but another, the original privacy agreement that GT Advanced signed, gives a rare look into how Apple does business with its suppliers.

According to the documents, Apple and GT's sapphire deal was known internally as "Project Onyx," and was subject to strict confidentiality agreements. GT employees were forbidden from referring to Apple or the project by anything other than code names, and they were also required to undergo training regarding confidentiality and security in addition to signing extensive non-disclosure agreements. Only employees who needed to know about the project were given information, in order to keep the deal as quiet as possible.

gtaprojectonyxprivacy
GT was required to establish a qualified security team and adhere to strict guidelines that called for 24/7 surveillance, credential screening, tracking of all confidential supplies, and the secure destruction of all scrap materials to prevent potential leaks.

As part of the agreement, Apple was able to audit records, inspect facilities, and interview personnel to ensure compliance, and any evidence of non-compliance with the non-disclosure agreement would result in a $135,000 "Security Fee" to pay for the cost of the audit and an increase in Apple's security efforts.

In addition to agreeing to Apple's strict access restrictions, GT Advanced was required to maintain liability insurance, and comply with Apple's Supplier Code of Conduct, which demands safe working conditions for employees. GT was also required to fulfill orders for replacement goods for seven years after "the date Apple designates as end-of-life" for the Apple product featuring sapphire, as well as maintain an "adequate stock" of materials for Service Units.

The privacy agreement that GT Advanced was required to sign is likely similar in nature to the agreements that Apple gives to all of its suppliers, giving us a glimpse of the lengths Apple goes to in order to maintain secrecy. Despite Apple's privacy efforts, the company still sees extensive product leaks. For example, ahead of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus release, hundreds of part leaks divulged information on nearly every aspect of the two devices, and a handset was even seen in the wild days before its official release.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

67 months ago
These terms are common with most companies. These terms are not evil in any way, just strict.
Rating: 25 Votes
67 months ago

How ridiculous is Apple.


Not at all. Pretty basic stuff.
Rating: 24 Votes
67 months ago
People have mocked Apple for not quite "doubling down on secrecy" but here it is in plain text.

The problem is that Apple, even after all has been said and done, is still dealing with humans.
Rating: 19 Votes
67 months ago
Seems that GTAT's CEO needs to go take course on business 101.
Rating: 9 Votes
67 months ago

I suppose it is if you happen to work for the CIA.


Nope, very common practices for a tech company.
Rating: 7 Votes
67 months ago
Run-of-the-mill stuff here. You should see a government contractor NDA if you think these are something.
Rating: 6 Votes
67 months ago
sound like the usual routine stuff for big scale project with big companies.

In the company I work for, we have to do this from time to time when dealing with the big players in the market - first time I was laughing about all the code names and security stuff, by now it is 'business as usual' for me.

Really nothing to cry and complain about - big companies (and small ones) need to protect their ass and sometimes don't want competition to know who is talking with whom about what (especially when they are publicly traded). This is fair game.

And if a company does not like that stuff, they have a choice: do not play with the big guys, nobody is forcing you to sign any of it ... but of course you than won't get the benefits of the cooperation.


Also on a side note: we once started negotiating with Apple, but they refused to sign a NDA (claiming that they in general don't sign NDA's) - negations went a little further (without showing them too much technical detail) but ultimately we walked away since we were not willing to show them our IP without having a signed NDA in place (which is part of our policy - not even Apple could change that, and that is a good thing - small companies need also to protect their ass)
Rating: 5 Votes
67 months ago
Tim cook: call me daddy
Rating: 5 Votes
67 months ago
Please visit Onyxrumors.com for the latest on Onyx:)
Rating: 5 Votes
67 months ago
They left off the part that the message would self-destruct in 5 seconds.
Rating: 4 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]