AMD granted restraining order against former employees in trade secrets lawsuit

Three employees are alleged to have taken secret dcouments and information before joining Nvidia

Advanced Micro Devices has been granted by a court in Massachusetts a temporary restraining order against four former employees, three of whom are alleged to have left the company to join Nvidia with confidential documents and trade secrets.

The chip maker said in a complaint filed Monday it had uncovered evidence that three of the employees - Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, and Nicolas Kociuk - transferred to external storage devices trade secret files and information in the days prior to their leaving AMD to work for Nvidia, starting with Feldstein who quit in July last year.

The fourth employee, Richard Hagen, who also now works with Nvidia, was charged with two other employees with solicitation of AMD employees to leave their jobs, in violation of agreements with the company.

U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Hillman of U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ordered three former employees among other things to refrain from using or divulging any AMD confidential information. Some of them were also asked to refrain from soliciting directly or indirectly AMD employees to leave their jobs.

The four employees worked at AMD's facility in Boxborough, Massachusetts.

Kociuk will soon be joining Nvidia, while the others are already working at the company, AMD said. All four defendants are said to have access to AMD's trade secrets and confidential information.

The over 100,000 electronic files AMD mentioned in the filing are said to "include obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials relating to developing technology and/or highly confidential business strategy." Three highly confidential files, including two licensing agreements with significant customers, and a document outlining "proposed strategies to AMD's strategic licensing" were also allegedly transferred.

The employees could not be immediately reached for comment.

The ex parte order will expire on Jan. 28 when the Judge has asked the parties to appear before him to be heard on AMD's application for preliminary injunctive relief.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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