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Print 19 comment(s) - last by Bateluer.. on Jan 17 at 11:26 PM

Employees allegedly stole 100,000+ documents to give to NVIDIA

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), one of the world's two largest PC graphics card manufacturers has filed an eye-catching lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts which implicates four of its former employees and its chief rival NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) in a stunning theft of intellectual property.

Attorneys for AMD write, "This is an extraordinary case of trade secret transfer/misappropriation and strategic employee solicitation."

AMD says former executive Robert Feldstein, who left AMD to join NVIDIA in July 2012, masterminded the scheme by illegally taking with him a number of AMD files and electronic documents.  The filing claims that Mr. Feldstein was then assisted by three other employees -- Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk, and Richard Hagen -- who also jumped shipped to NVIDIA last summer.

Mr. Feldstein had been a key figure at AMD, negotiating for the company's game console business unit.  Thanks to his work AMD achieved hegemony in the gaming console market with contracts from Microsoft Corp. (MSFTfor the Xbox, from Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) for the PlayStation, and from Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974) for the Wii U.

Robert Feldstein
AMD's Robert Feldstein, once a key employee at the chipmaker now stands accused of stealing thousands of documents from his former employer. [Image Source: NokyTech]

In total, AMD claims that over 100,000 of its documents were stolen and transfered to electronic storage devices (e.g. external hard drives or USB sticks).

AMD lawsuit by Zack Whittaker



The filing states that forensic analysis of the defendants' computers revealed, "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access."

According to ArsTechnica, AMD's request for a restraining order was granted.  The order prevents the accused employees from destroying files on the machines in their investigation (hence obstructing the investigation) and prevents them from poaching other employees.  AMD is aiming to retrieve the files and property and likely hold the employees liable to civil (monetary) (and possibly criminal) penalties.

It is unclear what role NVIDIA played in the theft.  While the suit does not list NVIDIA as a defendant, if NVIDIA accepted the stolen documents or participated in the employee poaching, it could be held liable to civil lawsuits.  We'll keep you up to date as this story develops.

Sources: Scribd, ArsTechnica



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RE: Interesting.
By Topweasel on 1/16/2013 2:08:16 PM , Rating: 5
It would be much larger issue then Apple v. Samsung. Apple is accusing Samsung of using their public idea's and designs to design something similar and just is a normal patent and trademark issue. This is corporate espionage, and even if Nvidia had no idea this was happening, if any of this information was used in creating its current offerings it could be devastating. Immediate shut down in production, huge settlement, scrapping of devices in development, and probably AMD oversight on future production.

All of this can happen in a Apple v. Samsung type case but its much harder because being like is a lot different then dealing then built an designed on proprietary information and trade secrets. It's why Pepsi immediately called the FBI when someone offered them the Coke recipe.


RE: Interesting.
By chrnochime on 1/16/2013 5:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like this isn't going to turn out well for Nvidia even in the best case scenario.


RE: Interesting.
By kingmotley on 1/16/2013 5:28:39 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
All of this can happen in a Apple v. Samsung type case but its much harder because being like is a lot different then dealing then built an designed on proprietary information and trade secrets.


This sentence made my head hurt. I'm trying to figure out what kind of encryption was used on it.


RE: Interesting.
By Trisped on 1/17/2013 6:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
All of this can happen in a Apple v. Samsung type case but its much harder because being like is a lot different then dealing then built an designed on proprietary information and trade secrets.
Should read:
All of this can happen in a Apple v. Samsung type case, but it is much harder because "being like" is a lot different "then built and designed on proprietary information and trade secrets".

The author is saying that there are similarities between the Apple vs Samsung case and the potential (suit does not yet name nVidia) AMD vs nVidia case, but that the AMD vs nVidia case will most likely be much more extreme.

Apple's case against Samsung boils down to "their product looks like ours". These cosmetic infringements can are usually easy to remove.

If AMD sues nVidia, then the case would become "Their product is built on our technology". If AMD wins on these issues then nVidia might be required to:
- Forfeit a % of the revenue from the infringing products to AMD.
- Stop selling the infringing products.
- Redesign any products being developed which would infringe.


RE: Interesting.
By Bateluer on 1/17/2013 11:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
[quote]
If AMD sues nVidia, then the case would become "Their product is built on our technology". If AMD wins on these issues then nVidia might be required to:[/quote]

If AMD's tech shows up in Nvidia's future products, the case could expand to that, I imagine.


RE: Interesting.
By Captain Orgazmo on 1/16/2013 5:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
Just about any job for an engineering or tech company these days makes you sign a contract that makes you liable for any theft if IP, and states that any invention you come up with while working for the company belongs to them. This idiot is gonna lose his shirt! NVIDIA will probably lose some money too, but the biggest losers by far will be greedy Feldstein and his 3 moronic pawns. (I'm sure NVIDIA knew what was going on, and I'm pretty sure they aren't stupid enough to use anything from AMD directly in their products... but you never know).


RE: Interesting.
By Samus on 1/16/2013 10:06:15 PM , Rating: 3
Indeed. I just read the scrib'd; I'm no lawyer, but it appears nVidia is screwed. There is a mound of evidence showing IP was leaked, and it won't be hard for engineers to determine if this IP made it into Kepler, etc.


RE: Interesting.
By bug77 on 1/17/2013 4:23:45 AM , Rating: 2
Well, you didn't pay any attention when you read: those guys were working in the consoles branch.


RE: Interesting.
By Trisped on 1/17/2013 6:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access .
The article does not state what department Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk, and Richard Hagen where in.

Even if they were in the consoles branch it does not mean they did not get access to sensitive data which would be of value when creating a GPU.


RE: Interesting.
By chick0n on 1/16/2013 10:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
stop talking when u cant even use the word "than/then" properly ...


RE: Interesting.
By BillyBatson on 1/16/2013 11:25:54 PM , Rating: 1
Is he writing the article for DT or just posting as an average guy? Deal with grammar mistakes.


RE: Interesting.
By maugrimtr on 1/17/2013 8:39:08 AM , Rating: 2
You stop talking until you learn to spell properly first...


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