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Advanced Micro Devices Sues Ex-Workers Over Trade Secrets

Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a maker of processors for personal computers, accused ex-employees in a lawsuit of taking “sensitive” company documents when they went to work for competing chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

The former employees transferred more than 100,000 electronic files pertaining to its graphics business in the days before they left the company, Advanced Micro said in a filing dated Jan. 14 in federal court in Boston. The employees also recruited other AMD workers to leave, the company claims.

“This is an extraordinary case of trade secret transfer/misappropriation and strategic employee solicitation,” Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro said in the complaint.

The documents included confidential information on licensing agreements with significant customers, proposed strategies concerning licensing and technical information about new products and processes the company is developing, the company said.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Hillman issued a temporary restraining order requiring the defendants to preserve all copies of AMD materials and computer storage devices and to refrain from disclosing confidential AMD information and attempting to hire any AMD employees.

Peter Mee, a lawyer for the four defendants, said he had no immediate comment. Bob Sherbin, a spokesman for Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia, said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Nvidia isn’t a defendant in the case.

Document Transfers

Three of the former employees -- Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai and Nicolas Kociuk -- transferred secret files to storage devices, according to the complaint. Feldstein, Desai and a fourth defendant, Richard Hagen, violated agreements not to solicit other employees for a period of time after leaving the company, AMD claims.

They all worked at AMD’s site in Boxborough, Massachusetts, according to the complaint.

Advanced Micro asked for monetary damages and a permanent injunction to prevent disclosures.

The case is Advanced Micro Devices v. Feldstein, 13-40007, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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