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Nvidia sued for alleged theft of trade secrets due to screensharing mistake

Nvidia sued for alleged theft of trade secrets due to screensharing mistake

If you've ever embarrassed yourself by publicly sharing part of your screen that you shouldn't have, think of Mohammed Moniruzzaman, who was accused of sharing a message with a former employer during a Microsoft Teams call. is charged with. Stolen source code shown. same company. The incident comes as a result of a lawsuit filed by Moniruzzaman's former employer, automotive technology company Valeo, which is suing Nvidia – the company to which Moniruzzaman moved – accusing it of profiting from these stolen trade secrets .

Nvidia has spent the better part of a decade attempting to enter the automotive market. Valeo alleges that Moniruzzaman "downloaded without authorization the entire Advanced Parking and Driving Assistance System source code of Valeo" in early 2021, as well as "numerous Valeo Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs explaining various aspects of the technology." Also downloaded." Also downloaded files and Excel spreadsheets before leaving to join Nvidia in August that year.

The alleged theft came to light in March the following year, when employees from both Nvidia and Valeo were working on a joint parking assistance project for an unnamed automotive parts manufacturer. Nvidia won the contract to develop software on the project, while Valeo was providing the ultrasonic sensor hardware. The lawsuit claims:

“On March 8, 2022, one of these videoconference meetings was scheduled. Mr. Moniruzzaman, who now works at Nvidia, participated in the videoconference call... and shared his computer screen during the call. However, when he minimized the PowerPoint presentation he was sharing, he showed one of Valeo's verbatim source code files open on his computer. Mr. Moniruzzaman's theft was so brazen that the file path on his screen still had "ValeoDocs" written on it. Valeo participants on the videoconference call immediately recognized the source code and took a screenshot before alerting Mr. Moniruzzaman of his error. By then it was too late to cover their tracks.”

The lawsuit states that German police "discovered Valeo documents and hardware mounted on the walls of Mr. Moniruzzaman's home office" when they raided his home as part of a criminal investigation, and Valeo software and documents were seized from his home. Found on Nvidia computers. When it was seized by the investigators. According to the lawsuit, when questioned by German police, Moniruzzaman admitted to stealing Valeo's software.

An Nvidia spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Verge's request for comment and declined to comment to Bloomberg. But in a letter sent to Valeo's lawyers, a law firm representing Nvidia claimed that the company "has no interest in Valeo's code or its alleged trade secrets and has acted immediately to protect your customer's rights." is processed." Concrete steps have been taken." Moniruzzaman told Nvidia that the source code was only stored locally on his laptop and was not shared with other Nvidia employees.

Bloomberg noted that Moniruzzaman was convicted in Germany in September of violating Valeo's trade secrets and fined €14,400 ($15,724). But although Nvidia says it has no interest in using the stolen code, Valeo alleges that its rival still benefited from it, saving "millions of dollars in development costs." And if the code was merged into Nvidia's database after "extensive editing and feedback loops by other employees," Valeo says it's "unrealistic" to think it could ever be completely removed.

As a result, Valeo is seeking damages and an injunction to prevent Nvidia and its employees from using or sharing its trade secrets. The Register reports that a jury trial date has not yet been announced.

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