Wednesday, January 16th 2013

AMD Accuses Ex-Staff of Leaking 100,000 Documents to NVIDIA

AMD alleged that four of its former employees ferried tens of thousands of confidential company documents over to NVIDIA. Among the four are AMD's former vice-president of strategic development Robert Feldstein, whose claim to fame was the big Xbox 360 GPU deal that continues to bring revenue. Feldstein left the company in July 2012, taking with him, a stash of company documents, named as "trade secrets." Three other former AMD employees are named in the lawsuit. AMD claims it has forensic evidence to prove the defendants used external storage devices to copy sensitive information from the company network, in breach of agreements.

Source: ArsTechnica
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46 Comments on AMD Accuses Ex-Staff of Leaking 100,000 Documents to NVIDIA

#1
TheMailMan78
Big Member
How do you lose electronic data in a tech company. What did he do? Copy it to a USB and delete the original?
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#2
Ikaruga
TheMailMan78 said:
How do you lose electronic data in a tech company. What did he do? Copy it to a USB and delete the original?
must be: sudo apt-get install incremental_search-and-backtrace_backup-filewiper_pro
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#3
Casecutter
Can't Nvidia be culpable in the fact that they may well receive and profited from what is stolen property. Especially if they have or looked at actual documents that are marked as confidential for only internal use. Most companies in such situation say just say, “tell us what you know”… don't need or want to see the actual proof.

First you get these guy to feel there’s no way out, then they tell AMD Lawyers who at Nvidia had taken control of such files for a plea-bargain, and AMD's on their way…
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#4
Ikaruga
Casecutter said:
Can't Nvidia be culpable in the fact that they may well receive and profited from what is stolen property. Especially if they have or looked at actual documents that are marked as confidential for only internal use. Most companies in such situation say just say, “tell us what you know”… don't need or want to see the actual proof.

First you get these guy to feel there’s no way out, then they tell AMD Lawyers who at Nvidia had taken control of such files for a plea-bargain, and AMD's on their way…
There is also a more ethical and civilized way to deal with such situations:

"In May, PepsiCo told Coca-Cola that it had received a letter from a person calling himself "Dirk" offering "very detailed and confidential information" about Coke's products for a fee, according to the DOJ press release.
......
A PepsiCo spokesman said that the company was pleased to be of assistance in the investigation. :'We did what any responsible company would do," said the spokesman. "Competition can be fierce, but it must also be fair and legal.'"
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#5
DRDNA
Any one who buys this type of info should be held in criminal contempt as well!
Posted on Reply
#6
lyndonguitar
I play games
Ikaruga said:
There is also a more ethical and civilized way to deal with such situations:

"In May, PepsiCo told Coca-Cola that it had received a letter from a person calling himself "Dirk" offering "very detailed and confidential information" about Coke's products for a fee, according to the DOJ press release.
......
A PepsiCo spokesman said that the company was pleased to be of assistance in the investigation. :'We did what any responsible company would do," said the spokesman. "Competition can be fierce, but it must also be fair and legal.'"

Wow, pretty awesome move by Pepsi there.

NVIDIA should be tried as well
Posted on Reply
#7
Casecutter
Ikaruga said:
There is also a more ethical and civilized way to deal with such situations:

"In May, PepsiCo told Coca-Cola that it had received a letter from a person calling himself "Dirk" offering "very detailed and confidential information" about Coke's products for a fee, according to the DOJ press release.
......
A PepsiCo spokesman said that the company was pleased to be of assistance in the investigation. :'We did what any responsible company would do," said the spokesman. "Competition can be fierce, but it must also be fair and legal.'"

I've been around Coke corporate enough to consider if Dirk was selling PepsiCo secrets to Coke what would have been... :D
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#8
HumanSmoke
Casecutter said:
Can't Nvidia be culpable in the fact that they may well receive and profited from what is stolen property.
Assuming Nvidia did so. If a suit is bought against the company then I guess that would be the case. Given the litigation history that AMD and Nvidia have been involved in in the past I'm not sure that Nvidia would either take the risk, or if they did, leave themselves a deniability option....especially for ex-AMD Business Managers (an oxymoron if ever there was one).
I'd have thought if there was a chance that Nvidia as a company could be proven to hold AMD propriety documents, then the suit and destruction of evidence injunction would have covered them also.

Look on the bright side, at least the AMD employee wasn't taking sensitive information out of the country this time.
W1zzard said:
What if the guys say "NVIDIA told me to take those documents" ?
You'd have thought that:
1. Nvidia would have offered better advice than to tell them to use AMD office machines to run searches comprising " How to copy / delete large numbers of documents" (see page 5 of the civil suit), and
2. Whats the net worth of having details of AMD's business strategy ? AMD's roadmaps change more often than traffic lights.
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#9
Prima.Vera
TheMailMan78 said:
How do you lose electronic data in a tech company. What did he do? Copy it to a USB and delete the original?
My thoughts exactly. Probably during the years he just leaked a lot of digital docs through his ipod/iphone/flash,etc with a lot of ease.
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#10
suraswami
Prima.Vera said:
My thoughts exactly. Probably during the years he just leaked a lot of digital docs through his ipod/iphone/flash,etc with a lot of ease.
Business Laptop?
Posted on Reply
#11
Jorge
If the allegations are true I hope AMD files criminal charges in addition to the pending civil complaint.
Posted on Reply
#12
Mussels
Moderprator
as an example of how this stuff could have played out:

some of these documents show that AMD is struggling to fix their micro stutter issues.

Nvidia staff member sees this, pushes third party websites to test to 'prove' that nvidia offer smooth gaming.


nvidia didnt steal the data, or do anything with it - but they used the information to push sales their way for some years to come.


again just a theoretical example - but how do you sue for maybes and might haves?
Posted on Reply
#13
Fluffmeister
Mussels said:
as an example of how this stuff could have played out:

some of these documents show that AMD is struggling to fix their micro stutter issues.

Nvidia staff member sees this, pushes third party websites to test to 'prove' that nvidia offer smooth gaming.


nvidia didnt steal the data, or do anything with it - but they used the information to push sales their way for some years to come.


again just a theoretical example - but how do you sue for maybes and might haves?
Hmm yeah, the trade secrets of how not to be successful.

I don't think nVidia bothered either.
Posted on Reply
#14
Steevo
AMD already got the temporary restraining order, and will be given access to the three drives it seems were used. So either they idiots destroy them beyond use and face contempt of court, hand them over and face more charges if they have or recover files, or hide and run away.


Simply amazing how such supposedly "smart" people can be so stupid.


I can watch users web searches by DNS records, IP address connection and port monitor, and also capture all network activity.
Posted on Reply
#15
chaotic_uk
AMD trying to fill it's empty bank account ?
Posted on Reply
#16
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
W1zzard said:
What if the guys say "NVIDIA told me to take those documents" ?
AMD could request a lesser sentence if they testify in a case against NVIDIA. That's likely why they wanted to sue the individuals first. If they don't find any of the individuals guilty, there's no chance of winning against NVIDIA. Likewise, there's no case against NVIDIA if the ex-employees offered the documents willfully and NVIDIA didn't encourage them in any way.


chaotic_uk said:
AMD trying to fill it's empty bank account ?
They would have sued Intel or NVIDIA for that, not inviduals. They won't get much from individuals.
Posted on Reply
#17
Steevo
ATI and Nvidia, as well as Intel and AMD have had long standing agreements not to poach the others talent. Google and a few other companies have had these too and when breached come under legal fire.

Nothing this blatent if true though.


This is NOT AMD trying to fill its bank, its AMD trying to prevent industrial espionage, sharing or licensing technology or trade secrets is one thing, but theft is just as bad as stealing hard currency.
Posted on Reply
#18
Rahmat Sofyan
Steevo said:
AMD already got the temporary restraining order, and will be given access to the three drives it seems were used. So either they idiots destroy them beyond use and face contempt of court, hand them over and face more charges if they have or recover files, or hide and run away.


Simply amazing how such supposedly "smart" people can be so stupid.


I can watch users web searches by DNS records, IP address connection and port monitor, and also capture all network activity.
It's all about the money I think.

and cuz that stupidity, It'll make lot of money too..if AMD can proove the data used by nVidia, but still this too bad if true.
Posted on Reply
#19
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Rahmat Sofyan said:
It's all about the money I think.
It's always about money or at very least some form of personal gain. Not just for leaking information but for suing them as well. I'm just curious to see where this goes.
Posted on Reply
#20
XNine
CaseLabs Rep
HalfAHertz said:
Well if it's such a big deal, then they should man up and straight sue Nvidia not a few individuals who hardly have the budget to defend themselves vs a whole corporation...
So if someone stole your tax documents and turned them over to a Large Corporation for data mining, you wouldn't want those individuals prosecuted? I'm sorry, but that's insane.

You can't sue a large corporation when technically, they didn't do anything wrong. Yes, ethically, they were wrong, but they didn't hire these people to go in and steal documents from AMD. If that were the case, then yes, they could sue NVidia. But since that's not the case (as it seems), no, the individuals are responsible for their own actions.

If you took sensative information from the White House and gave it over to China, you'd be tried for espionage and treason. They wouldn't punish China.
Posted on Reply
#21
niko084
HalfAHertz said:
Looks to me like AMD are just trying to stop the talent leak to Nvidia, which is a really despicable thing to do. If you want to keep your workers keep them happy - simple as that.
Awfully bold statement for someone I'm guessing has never worked for either company. :slap:

As for the legal aspects, on top of the already mentioned they can have things like residual benefits taken away if there are any, that includes owned shares I'm fairly certain.

Onto the rest of this, not surprised and yes this does happen all the time with any industry, they just don't catch it all that often.
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