Apple requests covert challenge to GT bankruptcy with trade secrets at risk

Apple has requested court permission to challenge GT Advanced Technologies' bankruptcy filing in secret in order to protect sensitive information held by the sapphire crystal supplier.

The Cupertino-based firm filed a motion on Tuesday to make its objections under court seal in order to safeguard its confidentiality agreement with GT, which protects research and development details and other business information.

Read more: Apple's sapphire glass supplier GT Advanced Technologies files for bankruptcy

On 8 October GT Advanced Technologies suddenly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, despite recent claims by the firm that the business was progressing well. The company signed an agreement to supply Apple with sapphire glass screens 12 months ago, but last week requested the court's permission to close its sapphire plants.

The bankruptcy has largely been a secret affair, with GT confirming that it faces fines of $50 million for every incident that violates its confidentiality agreements with Apple.

In response to Apple's request, the state of New Hampshire has objected to the secrecy, particularly given that the closure of GT's sapphire manufacturing plants would leave 890 members of staff without employment.

The state's attorney general's office announced that, although every attempt would be made to protect trade secrets, safeguarding every detail of Apple and GT's business dealings "goes much too far."

According to Recode, senior assistant attorney general Peter C.L. Roth said that it was important to reveal how a seemingly successful company could collapse so rapidly into bankruptcy.

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"The public interest in learning what transpired where [GT] made such confident statements publicly very recently, while clearly a catastrophic storm was on the horizon, is very high."