AMD Sues Four Former Employees Who Left For Nvidia


AMD is taking legal action against four former employees who left the company to work at graphics rival Nvidia.

According to a complaint filed Monday, AMD alleges that three former employees, including Robert Feldstein, former vice president of business development at AMD, copied and transferred confidential company documents when they left AMD for Nvidia. Feldstein resigned from AMD last July and joined Nvidia as vice president of technology licensing.

The complaint alleges that Feldstein last summer copied and transferred "sensitive AMD documents" to Nvidia in his final days at AMD, and that two of the other defendants later performed the same actions. Former AMD managers Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk and Richard Hagen are also named in the lawsuit. Hagen is alleged in the complaint to have solicited Desai to join him at Nvidia, which is a violation of his agreement with AMD.

"AMD has uncovered evidence that three of the four defendants -- Feldstein, Desai and Kociuk -- transferred external storage devices trade secret files and information in the days prior to their leaving AMD to work for Nvidia," the complaint states. "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. The names of the 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."

Specifically, AMD claims that "forensically recovered data" shows that the last day Feldstein used his AMD computer, he allegedly connected two external storage devices to his system to transfer three "highly confidential files," including two licensing agreements with "significant customers," and a document on AMD's strategic licensing proposals, as well as his Outlook emails, which AMD also said contained confidential information.

While at AMD, Feldstein was credited with helping the chip maker achieve major licensing wins for AMD's graphics business, most notably with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo's next-generation gaming consoles.
The complaint also accuses Desai and Kociuk of using external storage devices to copy confidential files as well as entire AMD laptop and desktop computers. In addition, all four defendants are accused of recruiting current AMD employees to join them at Nvidia.

The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, asks for injunctive relief from the court and for the return of all files and confidential materials, as well as compensatory damages.

PUBLISHED JAN. 16, 2013