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AMD Sues Former Employees, Says They Spied For NVIDIA

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Chipmaker claims VP Robert Feldstein recruited “double agents”

US chip manufacturer AMD has accused its former vice-president Robert Feldstein and three former managers of handing over trade secrets to its chief rival in the GPU market, NVIDIA.

AMD claims the four employees made copies of over 100,000 confidential files before getting new jobs at NVIDIA, and is suing them in a Massachusetts court.

Feldstein is credited with being responsible for getting AMD chips into three out of four next generation gaming consoles, due to launch in 2013-2014. Now, he is accused of masterminding an industrial espionage campaign and encouraging other employees to defect.

Spy games

According to ZDNet, the four were working at an AMD factory in Boxborough, Massachusetts, before changing their allegiance last year.

AMD claims that when they left, Feldstein and managers Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk and Richard Hagen gave themselves a parting gift – over 100,000 corporate documents, some of them containing closely-guarded trade secrets.

Now, AMD is suing the men in a Massachusetts court, hoping to get its property back. The chipmaker is particularly interested in retrieving two licensing agreements with “significant” customers, and a document outlining its licensing strategy, since they contain information that could give an “unfair advantage” to its competitors.

The company claims it found evidence that rogue employees transferred files “to external storage devices” prior to their departure, including material from confidential internal database ‘Perforce’. AMD also said it can prove at least one of the managers was researching ways to copy massive amounts of data through search engines.

What’s even more surprising, according to the court documents, Feldstein and Hagen“recruited” Desai to leave the company for NVIDIA, and Desai later encouraged Kociuk to do the same.

The four stand accused of breach of contract, conspiracy, violating trade secret laws, competition laws and the US Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In its filing, AMD has requested a trial by jury.

The judge has already issued a temporary restraining order which requires the former employees to preserve any AMD documents they might have, along with work computers and other devices related to the case.

Feldstein left AMD for NVIDIA in July last year, on what were then reported as “amicable terms.”

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