NVIDIA hires ex-Valeo staffer, who gets busted with trade secrets in a video call

Software developer Mohammad Moniruzzaman had code from Valeo on his screen, and a file called 'ValeoDocs' on his screen-sharing in a meeting, big, big oops.

2 minutes & 16 seconds read time

NVIDIA is embroiled in a lawsuit from Germany-based automotive technology company Valeo Schalter und Sensoren, after an ex-Valeo and now NVIDIA staffer screen-shared during a meeting with "ValeoDocs" in a file and even Valeo code... all shown in a video meeting by accident.

NVIDIA hires ex-Valeo staffer, who gets busted with trade secrets in a video call 201

It all started with a video call that software developer Mohammad Moniruzzaman was on, with Moniruzzaman joining NVIDIA back in 2021 after leaving German-based Valeo Schalter und Sensoren. He happened to be in a meeting between 4 people at Valeo, and 4 people from NVIDIA, as well as himself.

Moniruzzaman was finishing up showing a PowerPoint to everyone on the call when the screen-sharing function he was using allowed everyone to see what was showing on Moniruzzaman's entire screen, not just PowerPoint. As he minimized the PowerPoint presentation, what the video call participants saw was shocking: he had code from Valeo and a file description that said: "ValeoDocs".

The lawsuit claims: "Valeo participants on the videoconference call immediately recognized the source code and took a screenshot before Mr. Moniruzzaman was alerted of his error. By then, it was too late to cover his tracks".

Well, things got a little worse from there...

Valeo performed a forensic audit of its computer systems and discovered that Moniruzzaman, back in April 2021, had copied "the entirety of Valeo's parking and driving assistance source code from his Valeo computer to a personal computer". Inside of that were tens of thousands of files, considerable amounts of Valeo's proprietary code, and countless "Valeo Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, and Excel spreadsheets explaining various aspects of the technology to further facilitate his understanding of the stolen code" alleges the lawsuit.

It still gets worse...

Moniruzzaman would later take the stolen files and transfer them onto a USB flash drive so that he could use them on his NVIDIA-issued PC.

The lawsuit alleges: "As part of the German criminal investigation, Mr. Moniruzzaman's NVIDIA computers were seized, and law enforcement confirmed the presence of the stolen source code files and also discovered the teaching and training documentation discussed above".

Valeo claims in their lawsuit that the stolen information has been "shared with other NVIDIA software engineers who have access to and are using Valeo's trade secrets". The secrets in question "provided NVIDIA and its engineers a shortcut in the development of its first parking-assistance software, and saved NVIDIA millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of dollars in development costs," the lawsuit claimed. "In using these stolen trade secrets to develop a competing product, NVIDIA has diminished the value of Valeo's trade secrets to Valeo".

In June 2022, a German law firm representing NVIDIA said Moniruzzaman's actions "were entirely unknown" to the company until May 19, 2022. That is the day Moniruzzaman called NVIDIA and informed the GeForce Giant that he was under criminal investigation in Germany over alleged copyright infringement, and that local police had seized his laptop and smartphone. We know this from a letter sent by law firm Bardehle Pagenberg that was filed in court by Valeo.

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Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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