AMD accuses former employees of taking confidential files to Nvidia

By on January 16, 2013, 9:53 AM

AMD is taking four ex-employees to court for allegedly stealing sensitive documents before jumping ship to work at competing graphics chip maker Nvidia. The number of files transferred exceeds 100,000, according to the company, and contain trade secret materials relating to "obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or developing technology and/or highly confidential business strategy."

The most senior person accused in AMD's lawsuit filed in Massachussetts is Robert Feldstein, who was the vice president of strategic development at AMD until his departure in July 2012. ZDNet notes that Feldstein "helped broker major contracts to see AMD technology launch in the next-generation range of games consoles, including the Xbox, PlayStation, and the Wii U, before he left for Nvidia."

AMD claims it has forensic evidence of Feldstein using two external storage devices to copy two licensing agreements with "significant customers", an outline of proposed licensing strategies, and his emails.

Along with former manager Richard Hagen he's also said to have recruited Manoo Desai, who then recruited Nicolas Kociuk and perhaps additional AMD employees to leave for competitor Nvidia, constituting an alleged violation of their "no-solicitation of employees" agreement.

Among other evidence AMD is citing are suggestions that some of the four employees discussed how to “manipulate and eliminate certain data” on their computers prior to leaving the company, and one of them even searched the web for ways to "copy and/or delete large numbers of documents."

AMD was awarded a temporary restraining order over the four employees, ordering the preservation of any copies of AMD materials they may have and any computers or devices they own. The company is seeking for an undisclosed amount in damages, along other trial-related fees, and says that “unless injunctive relief is granted” it will be “irreparably harmed in a manner not fully compensable by money damages.”




User Comments: 9

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Jbucko said:

AMD is in the news a lot lately....

TechGamer TechGamer said:

AMD is in the news a lot lately....

Amd is always publicized as the company dont forget the fault is those people who are compromising Amds sales and plans

Guest said:

Who "MAY" have compromised their sales plans. Innocent until proven guilty I believe. Although the evidence (if true) does seem rather damning at this stage.

Guest said:

"helped broker major contracts to see AMD technology launch in the next-generation range of games consoles, including the Xbox, PlayStation, and the Wii U, before he left for Nvidia.

dosent sound like a guy who wanted to harm ADM to me ...

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

(ex-) AMD Business Manager uses Google to search for "how to copy and delete large numbers of documents" on company machines. About par for that particular course I'd say. And people wonder how AMD isn't more successful

Amd is always publicized as the company dont forget the fault is those people who are compromising Amds sales and plans

That would be AMD's Board of Directors ?

Hey, at least its industrial espionage this time, and not just espionage

1 person liked this | Zeromus said:

Hm, do they not use incognito mode??

RH00D RH00D said:

Hm, do they not use incognito mode??

I hope that post was sarcasm... Incognito won't stop anyone who knows what they're doing from seeing what you've done.

veLa veLa said:

I love AMD. Everyone in the tech industry has abused them but I still enjoy using their chips. I still remember my first Athlon Thunderbird. I overclocked it to hell and back.

Tygerstrike said:

Believe it or not this kind of chicanery happends more then most ppl realize. Many companies now require their employees to sign non disclosure paperwork when they are first hired. That way when/if someone spills the beans on what a previous employer does, then the previous employer can go after said ex employee legally. Not jailtime, but definatly a civil suit. The problem I see in this is that AMD has been in a slow decline. This seems more of a PR tactic then anything else. These individuals MAY have stolen materials propriatary to AMD, but without any real proof, such as video evidence or a eyewitness, its just speculation and possibly circumstancial. It could be as simple as someone getting distracted and not logging themselves out and someone else comes behind them and does the deed.

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