January 16, 2013
AMD Sues Ex-VP And Managers For Taking Thousands Of Confidential Documents
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Last summer, Bob Feldstein, the vice president of strategic development for Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) decided to switch sides and work for rival chip makers NVIDIA. At the time, AMD had said that Feldstein left on “amicable” terms, having just signed deals with Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to use AMD chips in their next-generation gaming consoles.
However, AMD doesn´t appear to be feeling so amicable towards their former vice president these days, alleging that he and 3 other former executives took thousands of confidential documents with them as they made the switch to NVIDIA.
AMD has now filed a lawsuit against these former employees in Massachusetts and wants to recover the files that the company claims cover upcoming AMD technology as well as pending enterprise contracts. As a result of this suit, the court has placed restraining orders against Feldstein as well as former managers Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk and Richard Hagen, preserving any copies of AMD material and any computers or devices that they own. As a part of the restraining order, these 4 former employees are prohibited from divulging any more confidential information they may have gleaned from AMD.
“We believe the facts are clearly outlined in our pleadings and are supported by forensic evidence,” explained an AMD spokesperson, speaking to ZDNet.
“The pleadings are publicly available. Current and former AMD employees are contractually required to honor the ongoing confidentiality and non-solicitation obligations each agreed to while employed with us.”
According to AMD´s side of the story, these employees made away with thousands of electronic documents just days before leaving the company, transferring the data to “external storage devices.”
"The volume of materials that these three defendants collectively transferred to storage devices, each of which is unaccounted for, as they left to work for AMD's competitor exceeds 100,000 electronic files," reads AMD´s court filings. The chip maker claims these documents include “obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials relating to developing technology and/or highly confidential business strategy."
AMD is particularly worried about three of these files, noting that they are “highly confidential” and contain “two licensing agreements with significant customers, and a document outlining proposed strategies to AMD's strategic licensing.” The company claims that these files could give NVIDIA and unfair advantage were they to use them.
Furthermore, AMD alleges that a confidential database entitled “Perforce” was also transferred along with the other documents and added to external storage devices. Perforce is said to contain over 200 highly confidential files.
According to AMD, once Feldstein and Hagen walked away from the company, they actively recruited Desai to come work for NVIDIA as well. The company also believes Desai actively recruited Kociuk and possibly other AMD employees to switch sides and work for NVIDIA. In addition to the restraining order, AMD has so far been able to have the court order Hagen to desist from poaching anymore AMD employees.
As it stands, only AMD´s position has been heard. These confidential files could contain any sort of information, and AMD is the only party here defining what is “confidential” and what isn´t. It´s entirely likely that the documents in question would be of no real use to NVIDIA, though this decision will be left for the Massachusetts court to decide.