Intel files lawsuit against a former employee, now at Microsoft

Intel files lawsuit against a former employee, now at Microsoft

Intel has accused one of its former employees of leaving with several confidential documents and trying to use the information inside to help Microsoft. The lawsuit was filed in a federal district court in Oregon on Friday. Intel says that Dr. Varun Gupta spent 10 years at Chipzilla before leaving in January 2020.

The suit says that Gupta had insider information that included Intel’s trade secrets and strategies for the sale of custom Xeon chips. It is alleged that he knew about a lot of confidential data and was not afraid to leverage it while working at Microsoft.

Gupta’s edge

Gupta outrightly mentioned pricing offers and technical specifications Intel had come up with and marketed for other cloud computing environments to get favorable terms for Microsoft. The suit continues to say that Gupta essentially used details contained in confidential deals made between Intel and Microsoft’s cloud rivals, to get better contracts for Azure.

The defendant had no right to leverage that information. Intel said that he would have been fully aware that he was not allowed to do what he did, because his contract with Intel contained multiple clauses about trade secrets.

He was asked, while at Intel, to sign a “trade secret acknowledgment form.”

The paper trail

The document he signed specifically identifies which types of confidential information and trade secrets the employee has had access to. It also confirms the employee’s contractual obligation not to disclose or use the information after the employment is over.

Intel’s suit alleged that on his last day at the company, Gupta moved 3,900 internal documents from his company laptop to two external hard drives (one of them made by Seagate and the other by Western Digital). The suit also says Intel knows the drives’ serial numbers.

Gupta claims he got the documents from public portals and Microsoft.