Nvidia Faces Legal Battle Over Engineer’s Stunning Intellectual Property Theft

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In a bizarre turn of events, Nvidia Corp. finds itself entangled in a legal dispute following a peculiar incident involving one of its engineers during a video conference call with his former employer, Valeo SE. The engineer inadvertently exposed stolen data related to robocar technology, leading to his conviction for infringing business secrets in Germany earlier this year. Now, Valeo is taking legal action against Nvidia in California.

This unusual case highlights the intense competition in the autonomous-driving market, projected to reach up to $400 billion by 2035, where allegations of intellectual property theft are not uncommon. Major players like Apple Inc., Tesla Inc., and Google Inc.’s Waymo have previously accused former employees of absconding with self-driving secrets.

The incident occurred during a virtual meeting between Valeo and Nvidia employees, where the engineer, Mohammad Moniruzzaman, shared his screen, unintentionally revealing files containing Valeo’s proprietary information. Valeo claims that Moniruzzaman, recognizing his value to Nvidia, had stolen tens of thousands of files and gigabytes of source code before leaving the company in 2021.

Despite Nvidia’s assertion that it has no interest in Valeo’s code and has taken steps to protect Valeo’s rights, the legal battle persists. Valeo filed a complaint on November 7 in federal court in San Jose, California.

During the video conference call, Moniruzzaman minimized a PowerPoint presentation, exposing Valeo’s source code on his computer screen. Valeo participants recognized the breach, taking a screenshot before Moniruzzaman could rectify his error. Subsequently, German police discovered Valeo documents and hardware in Moniruzzaman’s home office during a raid.

While Nvidia claims it was unaware of the incident until Moniruzzaman reported being served with a summons, Valeo contends that the engineer’s actions provided Nvidia with an “illegitimate advantage” and harmed innovation. The legal battle unfolds against the backdrop of Nvidia’s recent prominence as the first trillion-dollar semiconductor maker, with Valeo emphasizing its commitment to protecting its substantial investments in innovation.

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