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AMD complaint alleges former officials stole over 100,000 documents, then joined Nvidia

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Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Chip manufacturer AMD filed a complaint in federal court yesterday accusing four former officials of stealing more than 100,000 files' worth of trade secrets, and then leaving for graphics competitor Nvidia, where they allegedly violated "no-solicitation of [AMD] employees" promises, reports ZDNet.

The lawsuit, which AMD filed in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, names former vice president Robert Feldstein and three managers: Manoo Desai, Richard Hagen and Nicolas Kociuk. All four used to work for AMD at its Boxborough, Mass., research and development facility; Feldstein, Desai and Hagen now work for Nvidia, and Kociuk is scheduled to start there soon. AMD accuses them of violating their contracts with the company, as well as state and federal laws.

AMD also filed a temporary restraining order along with the suit. The order, which the court granted, directs the former employees to preserve copies of any computers and AMD documents in their possession. It also prevents them from using or disclosing confidential AMD information, and from recruiting other AMD employees.

AMD accuses them of violating their contracts with the company, as well as state and federal laws

According to the complaint, the corporate theft began with Feldstein, formerly AMD's vice president of strategic development. AMD cited a forensic data investigation that found he "transferred sensitive AMD documents," including corporate emails and confidential licensing agreements, to an external storage device before leaving the company in July 2012. Feldstein and Hagen allegedly recruited Desai; the complaint accuses her of copying more than 200 files from a confidential AMD database related to the development of products and processes.

Desai also allegedly solicited Kociuk and "potentially [other AMD employees]." Kociuk is accused of copying more than 150,000 files, including full copies of AMD desktops and laptops, to an external hard drive about two weeks before resigning from AMD. In addition, all four had signed agreements in which they promised not to recruit AMD employees while employed there or for a period after leaving; the complaint accuses Feldstein, Hagen and Desai of violating those contracts.

AMD is seeking injunctive relief, hoping the court makes the temporary restraining order permanent so AMD can recover the files in question. The company also wants a trial by jury, in which it hopes to be awarded "compensatory damages" in the form of money and "any such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper."

An AMD spokesperson told ZDNet, "We believe the facts are clearly outlined in our pleadings and are supported by forensic evidence," and added that the company "will always take action to aggressively protect its confidential, proprietary and trade secret information."

You can read the full complaint here, and the temporary restraining order here.

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