Intel sues former employee for allegedly taking Xeon secrets to Microsoft with him

midian182

Posts: 6,663   +59
Staff member
In brief: Tech giants suing former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets is nothing new. The latest company to launch legal action against an ex-worker is Intel, whose lawsuit claims an engineer took 3,900 confidential documents with him when he left for Microsoft.

Dr. Varun Gupta worked for Intel for ten years before leaving the company to join Microsoft as "Principal for Strategic Planning in Cloud and AI" in January 2020. The suit alleges that he transferred 3,900 documents onto two USB drives on his last day at the company, accessing them later using his Microsoft-issued laptop.

The files in question are related to Intel's Xeon processors, including pricing, strategies, and Intel's manufacturing capabilities.

Intel's marketing and engineering team started to suspect Gupta might have stolen trade secrets while conducting business with him after he left for Microsoft. Both companies worked together to investigate the matter.

As reported by The Oregonian, the complaint claims Gupta denied knowing where one of the drives was but later turned it over to Microsoft for analysis. He says he discarded the other thumb drive containing the Xeon secrets.

"In his new role at Microsoft, Gupta used the confidential information and trade secrets he misappropriated from Intel, deploying that information in head-to-head negotiations with Intel concerning customized product design and pricing for significant volumes of Xeon processors," Intel alleged in the suit. Gupta refutes the claims.

Intel is seeking unspecified damages, attorney fees, and an injunction preventing Gupta from using or disclosing any documents on the USB drive.

"We place great faith and trust in our current and former employees, but we have an obligation to protect our intellectual property and other proprietary information, and we will not hesitate to act to prevent their misappropriation," Intel wrote.

Permalink to story.

 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,726   +5,136
If someone leaves a company, this is absolutely going to happen. How can they get sued for the "knowledge" without there being criminal wrongdoing involving sharing of physical data ?

That's like if I work for KFC and leave and get sued while working at Jolibees for making their nuggets not taste like trash.

Long story short: I hope Intel loses.
 

Puiu

Posts: 4,489   +3,321
TechSpot Elite
If someone leaves a company, this is absolutely going to happen. How can they get sued for the "knowledge" without there being criminal wrongdoing involving sharing of physical data ?

That's like if I work for KFC and leave and get sued while working at Jolibees for making their nuggets not taste like trash.

Long story short: I hope Intel loses.
He can be sued even if he didn't use the data. He is not allowed to take it, period.

As for the KFC vs Jolibees, It's more akin to taking secret formulas, information on future pricing, products, campaigns, store locations, etc. These things can give you an advantage.

I may dislike Intel, but I also dislike things that can happen to me if I ever hire someone like that.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,137   +1,266
TechSpot Elite
This probably won't make much difference since Xeon isn't even close to being competitive with EPYC. When Intel pays the price for their criminal actions, then (and only then) will I care about them being screwed over by one of their former employees.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
P&G and Lever Bros. have been at this for years; each claiming an employee that leaves and goes to a competitor is stealing secrets and should be barred from joining the new company. The Federal Courts have consistently ruled that the individuals "right to work" trumps all other claims with the exception being if the losing company can prove secrets were stolen, then they have a Civil case but not a Federal Case. (Info via WESTLAW) ....
 

Amariami

Posts: 41   +12
He can be sued even if he didn't use the data. He is not allowed to take it, period.

As for the KFC vs Jolibees, It's more akin to taking secret formulas, information on future pricing, products, campaigns, store locations, etc. These things can give you an advantage.

I may dislike Intel, but I also dislike things that can happen to me if I ever hire someone like that.
https://www.techpowerup.com/278069/...ow-manufacturing-cost-ships-4-5-million-units
https://www.techspot.com/news/88571-geforce-gt-710-can-run-horizon-zero-dawn.html

it looks you chat with BOT
 

dihartnell

Posts: 28   +20
If someone leaves a company, this is absolutely going to happen. How can they get sued for the "knowledge" without there being criminal wrongdoing involving sharing of physical data ?

That's like if I work for KFC and leave and get sued while working at Jolibees for making their nuggets not taste like trash.

Long story short: I hope Intel loses.

He wasn't using his knowledge in his head. He stole the information and used it to try and disadvantage INTEL.

Its theft, end of the story and if you worked for KFC, stole their recipe and used it to improve Joliibees it would also be theft.
 

dihartnell

Posts: 28   +20
P&G and Lever Bros. have been at this for years; each claiming an employee that leaves and goes to a competitor is stealing secrets and should be barred from joining the new company. The Federal Courts have consistently ruled that the individuals "right to work" trumps all other claims with the exception being if the losing company can prove secrets were stolen, then they have a Civil case but not a Federal Case. (Info via WESTLAW) ....
Good decision by the courts otherwise you wouldn't have individuals like Jim Keller able to move around from company to company improving their ability to compete and returning to companies like AMD just when they needed him. He, of course, is using the knowledge and skill that he has developed over the last 30 years and not downloading thousands of documents every time he leaves a company.
 

DrSuess

Posts: 81   +42
If someone leaves a company, this is absolutely going to happen. How can they get sued for the "knowledge" without there being criminal wrongdoing involving sharing of physical data ?

That's like if I work for KFC and leave and get sued while working at Jolibees for making their nuggets not taste like trash.

Long story short: I hope Intel loses.
They won't lose when his employment ended he was required to return all proprietary information/documents back to Intel as they are the property of Intel and could cause Intel damage if disclosed. They could also do financial damage to MS if any of Intel's proprietary information was used in any technical, financial or marketing project/proposals.