PC hardware manufacturer AMD alleges that four ex-employees stole over 100,000 sensitive documents and presented them to rival NVIDIA, who they now all work for.
It's lawsuit time.
AMD's lawsuit/complaint contends that former vice-president Bob Feldstein and three other employees copied the documents onto memory sticks before defecting to NVIDIA, including licensing agreements with key partners, high level strategy briefings and R&D secrets. The defendants are also accused of trying to poach more AMD employees to jump ship to the rival company.
The suit follows an intensive internal forensic investigation, which reportedly uncovered evidence that Feldstein and co. plugged in multiple storage devices to the AMD network and downloaded numerous files on their last day of work.
“AMD has uncovered evidence that three of the four defendants – Feldstein, Desai and Kociuk – transferred to external storage devices trade secrets and information in the days prior to their leaving AMD to work for Nvidia," the suit alleges. "The names of identified and transferred files match identically or very closely to the names of files on their AMD systems that include obviously confidential, proprietary and/or trade secret materials relating to developing and/or highly confidential business strategy."
Technical R&D files may also have been leaked to NVIDIA, including an internal database of in-development hardware. “A folder called Perforce – which is the name of an AMD internal database containing the confidential technological work and development of AMD process and product – was created on the external device."
AMD are seeking a restraining order against the four ex-staffers and requesting them to retain all computer hardware for future examination, while levelling charges of "Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition, Violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Breach of the Employee’s Duty of Loyalty, Breach of Contract and Conspiracy."
It seems that the fierce competition between the two major players in the PC hardware space may well be reaching fever pitch, especially considering the rumours that the next generation of consoles will all favour AMD over NVIDIA. We'll bring you the latest as we hear it.