According to legal documents obtained by tech sites Ars Technica and Extremetech, four former employees of hardware company AMD are facing a number of charges related to industrial espionage over allegations they stole "thousands of confidential documents" before leaving to work at rival company Nvidia.
The four named in the suit are Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, Nicholas Kociuk and Richard Hage. Feldstein has long been a key part of first ATi and later (when bought out) AMD's console push, first playing a key role in securing the company's contract to supply graphics hardware for the Xbox 360, and more recently for deals over the Wii U, Durango and PlayStation 4/Orbis.
It's alleged that Feldstein "transferred sensitive AMD documents, and in the next six months, the three defendants either did the same thing, violated ‘no-solicitation of employees' promises, or both—all obvious violations of common law, statute, and/or contracts with AMD."
To back up the accusations, AMD claim they have forensic evidence revealing that 10,000 files were stolen, covering "confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials related to developing technology".
AMD also accuse Feldstein and Hagen of first recruiting Desai and Kociuk to assist them, then attempting to recruit other AMD employees to do the same.
The full list of accusations levelled against the four (or some of the four) includes:
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
- Violation of unfair competition laws
- Computer fraud
- Breach of employee's duty of loyalty
- Breach of contract
AMD is hoping to recover the files stolen, and has been granted a restraining order against the four.
Note that the suit is only being brought against the four individuals, and not Nvidia.
We've contacted the parties involved for further information, and will update if we hear back.
An NVidia rep says: "Our policy is not to comment on pending legal matters."
An AMD rep says: "AMD will always take action to aggressively protect its confidential, proprietary and trade secret information. We believe the facts are clearly outlined in our pleadings and are supported by forensic evidence. 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. As this case is now in litigation, we have no further comment at this time."