AMD: staff stole 100,000 files before moving to Nvidia

Former AMD employees accused of conspiracy in mass data theft

Nicole Kobie
16 Jan 2013

AMD is demanding a jury trial after accusing staff of stealing more than 100,000 confidential files before starting new roles with rival Nvidia.

According to a court filing, AMD has accused four ex-employees of breaking contracts, saying it started when Robert Feldstein, formerly vice president of strategic development at the chip maker, left in July last year.

AMD accuses Feldstein, and former colleagues Manoo Desai and Nicolas Kociuk of transferring confidential data, and Richard Hagen of encouraging other employees to move to Nvidia.

AMD has uncovered evidence that three of the four defendants... transferred to external storage devices trade secret files and information in the days prior to their leaving AMD to work for Nvidia

"AMD has uncovered evidence that three of the four defendants - Feldstein, Desai, and Kociuk - transferred to external storage devices trade secret files and information in the days prior to their leaving AMD to work for Nvidia," a filing from the firm alleges.

The number of files transferred exceeds 100,000, according to AMD. "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 technology and/or highly confidential business strategy."

Feldstein is accused of using two external storage devices to copy two licensing agreements with "significant customers", an outline of proposed licensing strategies, and his emails.

Desai is accused of emailing Kociuk about how to "manipulate and eliminate certain data on her AMD computer", and of copying a database containing confidential product development information.

Kociuk is accused of copying to an external hard drive containing 150,000 files, "believed to be full copies of AMD laptop and desktop computers", in the two weeks before resigning. AMD also said he "ran several internet searches about how to copy and/or delete large numbers of documents".

The fourth defendant, Hagen, is accused of recruiting Desai, who in turn recruited Kociuk, contrary to a contract with AMD not to solicit staff for jobs. "The loss of talent... has harmed and will continue to harm AMD in ways that are both intangible and difficult to quantify, as well as tangible," AMD said.

AMD is asking for a temporary restraining order, full jury trial and damages, accusing the defendants of charges including misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of employee's duty of loyalty, breach of contract, violations of the computer fraud and abuse act, and conspiracy.

Nvidia has yet to respond to request for comment, but there's nothing in the documents suggesting the firm was aware the former AMD employees had kept confidential data.

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