AMD says former employees handed next-gen trade secrets to Nvidia

Four employees conspired to take trade secrets and solicit staff for rival technology manufacturer.

Four former AMD employees have been accused of taking "thousands of confidential documents" and company secrets to rival technology manufacturer Nvidia.

Artist's interpretation of how alleged crime may have looked.

Chief amongst the accused is Robert Feldstein, a vice president at AMD--now working for Nvidia--who helped oversee the company's negotiations to include hardware in the next-generation Xbox and PlayStation and also the Wii U.

"This is an extraordinary case of trade secret transfer/misappropriation and strategic employee solicitation," says AMD's court filing in documents obtained by ArsTechnica.

On his last day working for AMD, Feldstein attached two external hard drives to his work machine and "onto those storage devices, three highly confidential files - two licensing agreements with significant customers and a document outlining proposed strategies to AMD's strategic licensing - were transferred," says the 15-page lawsuit.

Feldstein, alongside managers Manoo Desai and Nicolas Kociuk, allegedly swiped more than 150,000 files across six months before leaving the company,

Desai is also alleged to have brought a hard drive to the office on her last day, where she created a "folder called Perforce - which is the name of an AMD internal database containing the confidential technological work and development of AMD process and product."

Kociuk is accused of pinching 150,000 files across his two work computers, and AMD's cyber-detectives say he ran "several internet searches about how to copy and/or delete large numbers of documents." It's basically Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, and then Ctrl+V, Nicolas.

Using forensic analysis, AMD claims that "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access."

All three employees and one other manager, Richard Hagen, were also accused of attempting to solicit other AMD staff to join the competition.

The result of all these accusations is that the quartet are up against charges for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition, Violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Breach of the Employee's Duty of Loyalty, Breach of Contract and--as if that weren't enough--Conspiracy.

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Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor

Discussion

207 comments
Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

Wait Wait.... So AMD powering the PS4 and Xbox 720 reports are BS?  Man, I thought they could have gotten some financial relief if that went through but according to this article its not.  Poor AMD :(

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Wow. While I prefer AMD products, it seems they should have some better security measures. Their employees should also already know how to copy files, without googling it on the Internet! Lol . I also thought the next gen consoles were using AMD hardware? I guess those were just speculations. If this is true, those ex-employees should be punished.

Myst17
Myst17

" It's basically Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, and then Ctrl+V, Nicolas. "

LOL'd.

kickpig
kickpig

虽然说,人为财死,鸟为食亡。但是作为一位员工应该有义务去保护公司机密的,这样卖掉自己公司里的机密,赚来的钱 你花的舒服吗?安心吗?

tightwad34
tightwad34

The burglar in the pic looks a bit....homosexual. Didn't need to point that out, it's just the first thing that came to my mind.

HSuperV
HSuperV

People do everything for money. Loyalty doesn't mean shit in this world anymore.

sam628
sam628

not surprised at all, they will do anything to make a profit that's the world we live in today all about profits/money

Raphy_Turtle
Raphy_Turtle

Hahaha at the picture. ''Artist's interpretation of how alleged crime may have looked'' I loled hard.

soulless4now
soulless4now

Corporate corruption from the inside. Not shocking at all. lol

Buck_Swaggler
Buck_Swaggler

The robber in that pic definitely has a lisp

Zephol
Zephol

secrets!!! HAHA!

stealth6spy
stealth6spy

Shouldn't there be an AMD logo on that bag since the robber is taking AMD's secrets?

MoreThot
MoreThot

were the "secrets" how to not make crappy drivers and cards? lol

shantd
shantd

If the charges are true, they oughta do jail time....if for no other reason than because they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Nvidia is the only one who comes out of this ahead. Win-win for them.

Paul2004
Paul2004

How the hell did he not know how to copy/paste ?, unless he was looking for a faster way to transfer data i dont see how he could be working for a computer company....C&P is one of the first things you learn afterall. But thats alot of files they are supposed to have taken, if they did it or if AMD's just alittle angry they left has yet to be decided

superbuuman
superbuuman

I find it funny that people in such high position do not know how to copy & paste - they had to look it up, even worse they work for a company that makes cpu. Just shows the quality of people they have at AMD, no wonder they're in strive. Need a more stringent checks on who they hire. :p

Zloth2
Zloth2

Errrr, I think the old DOS style XCopy might be faster than copy/paste.  It gives lots of options on what files to copy, too, instead of trying to pick out just which files to copy.  If you want to copy an entire drive but only want files changed in, say, the last six months then XCopy is the way to go for sure.

Coseniath
Coseniath

I just hope that he didn't give Nvidia the Bulldozer plans. This could be a disaster for Nvidia... :P

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

Pretty crazy if it's true.  I find it odd that a big company like Nvidia would risk outright stealing from their primary competitor.

Daian
Daian

When I read the title on the home page I giggled while saying to myself "what secrets, how to make really crappy drivers?".

lyncer777
lyncer777

my 8800gt 2007-2008 Died. then bought GTX 275 2009-2010 Died too. i have bad experience with Nvidia just saying... i do give a Shit because it is the truth.

genjuroT
genjuroT

@tightwad34 Ah yes, the rare known buttburgler. He will steal the pants off ya...literally.

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

@MoreThot You've obviously never owned any AMD products. Maybe your used to those integrated GPUs?

demonkingx5
demonkingx5

@MoreThot there is none since the 7870 beats the gtx660 even the 8350 beats the i7 & i5 in game tests 

hystavito
hystavito

@Paul2004   If it's true, I'm surprised that he at least didn't have the sense to do that research from home, or somewhere other than at work.

leviathanwing
leviathanwing

@Paul2004 that leaves fingerprints on every single file that you copied and when you copied them.  im sure he wanted a more anonymous way of taking the files.

shantd
shantd

@Paul2004  I'm sure he was actually looking for a way to cover his tracks. 

shantd
shantd

@superbuuman  Oh for chrissakes of course they knew how to copy/paste. The author was making a joke and everyone takes him literally.

s2i2p2i2o
s2i2p2i2o

@Zloth2 We'll all be sure to use that meathod if any of us ever wants to steal some documents from where we work.

trigun3x
trigun3x

@Coseniath Bulldozer is CPU architecture, how would a GPU manufacturer benefit or be worse off for knowing that information? 

Zloth2
Zloth2

@chibi-acer Check that last paragraph - those four people are being charged, not NVIDIA.

VeeArSick
VeeArSick

@lyncer777 I've had bad luck with Nvidia cards too. I'm not saying they're bad cards, they're just not very durable in my experience. Both my Nvidia cards were made buy PNY. Funny thing is, I can't recall who makes my ATI/AMD cards, I just know they've lasted far past my expectations because when I first got into PC Gaming I was using the Nvidia cards. This is all my opinion anyways, I'm sure other people have had much better luck with Nvidia. 

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@lyncer777 Just curious, but who made your video card?  Nvidia just makes the chips, they don't sell reference cards direct, so maybe it's your card manufacturer.  Most of the good ones have 3 or more years on their warranty.

I've never had a problem with an Nvidia card.  I did have an ATI card die on me once, but that was back in the Windows 95 days, so I don't really count that.

demonic_85
demonic_85

@demonkingx5 @MoreThot lol really? The 8350 is on par with the i5-3570k in a lot of benches but falls behind big time in anything CPU intensive like Skyrim. Besides this article is about graphics technology which AMD does a fantastic job with their APU's.

Coseniath
Coseniath

@trigun3x @Coseniath I know what Bulldozer is. I was just being sarcastic. And I think the majority of people who know a little about cpu architectures should know that bulldozer was a failure similary to Netburst. Thats why I said it could be a disaster...

lyncer777
lyncer777

@Evil_Apai @lyncer777 I agree with Gigabyte! i have gigabyte motherboard though not a Video card, i always buy Gigabyte because my LGA 775 Gigabyte mobo is still alive with my 4870 and E8400 OC to 3.8 GHZ still kicking some major a*** games... even the new games Witcher 2 Crysis 2 etc etc...

Zloth2
Zloth2

@VeeArSick @lyncer777 There's a lot of factors running around, too.  For instance, if your ventilation isn't that great then a card that runs hot is going to have more problems than a card that's relatively cool.  You pretty much need a lab to make reliable tests, I'm afraid.

lyncer777
lyncer777

@chibi-acer @lyncer777 Galaxy 8800gt, the GTX 275 one is an EVGA made (are you shock one of the best Geforce Manufacturer, in my country it is hard to have a lifetime warranty that EVGA offers here in my country or maybe at that time i dunno how to avail) hey i have EVGA 8800 ULTRA Black pearl Ed too(DAMN THE PRICE!) but i sold it because i cant run Crysis on decent framerates yep im expecting more because i paid more... FAIL.

and i remember after i bought my Galaxy 8800gt, i recommend my friend to buy one, but he bought the MSI 8800GTS 640mb instead he thought it was the same and after 2 years another casualty...


currently i have one 4870, one 6870, and one 7870 and i am very happy with it, yeah i know i may sound a bit fanboy right now, the reason is i have bad experience with the Green Team

I think i remember my GTX 275 died because i always enabled PhysX on BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM my GTX 275 run very hot with PhysX on, the only problem is they advertised the GTX 275 that it can run it with PhysX enabled yes it can run it but damn! watch out the temps!

Riddick123
Riddick123

@lyncer777 @mrboone01 I have built computers at retail stores.  Don't do that business anymore.  But we found that PNY cards tend to fail all the time.  As far as Nvidia or AMD among other manufacturers.  The fail rate was about the same between the two.  Sounds like you got unlucky and had a bad experience.  But who cares as long as you can game right?  GTX 285s ran very hot.  My GTX 575 is great.


Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@lyncer777 @chibi-acer I RMA my Evga 8800gt which was 1 month away from 5 years old and only because it was starting to get faulty.  After paying a repair fee to EVGA and a bit of hassling with customer support they upgraded it to a GTX 550ti which is working pretty good and its twice as fast as the 8800gt.  So sorry to hear you got bad lemons, but really, if those cards died on you I don't know why you didn't RMA them.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@lyncer777 @Style11 @chibi-acer The drivers from AMD are not problematic, just way less optimized than Nvidia.  This is a fact, not a matter of fanboyism, you'll have a better chance of playing a game from the get go with an Nvidia card and in most cases get better fps than with an AMD card. 

lyncer777
lyncer777

@Style11 @lyncer777 @chibi-acer I have no problems with my AMD Drivers... to all noobs out there who use AMD GPU's please learn how to use RADEON PRO please.


Hell even Geforce has bad drivers until now... just check some forums.

Style11
Style11

@lyncer777 @chibi-acer

In last years I had  MSI 7300LE after one year 8800GTS-512 ,,, then 285GTX and now from 2010 I still use 480GTX...

Good cards,,  they are powerfull except 7300LE <<< too bad !!!

Drivers provide performance enhancement with almost every major update...

Supporting new GPUs is fast and maximum performance can be obtained at the first day of use , UNLIKE some AMD new graphics cards that still waiting for bugs-free driver !!!

But AMD still producing nice graphics cards that provide best performance with less money compared to nvidia ...