Businesses of all shapes and sizes have to be vigilant to make sure that their trade secrets stay that way: secret and out of the hands of potential competitors. Keeping that in mind, one technology company has recently had to resort to business litigation in order to protect its intellectual property.
The company, Advanced Micro Devices — AMD for short — is suing four former employees for allegedly taking company documents before they went to work at a competing computer chip maker, Nvidia. According to the lawsuit, three of the ex-employees named allegedly copied sensitive files to storage devices. Two of those workers along with a fourth worker were also accused of recruiting other AMD employees to work for Nvidia in violation of non-compete agreements.
For its part, Nvidia has no comment about the litigation; in fact, it is not named as a defendant. Only the four employees are named in the suit.
As a result, a federal judge in the case issued a temporary restraining order that mandates the people named in the suit keep copies of any AMD material they might have; the order also prohibits the further disclosure of any AMD confidential information and prohibits the group from trying to hire any employees away from AMD.
While the specific information that was in question was not disclosed, it is particularly important for technology companies to guard their knowledge. It remains to be seen what sort of penalty might be paid if the suit against the ex-employees is successful.
Source: Bloomberg, “Advanced Micro Devices Sues Ex-Workers Over Trade Secrets,” Don Jeffrey, Jan. 17, 2013