Among the most important companies in the hardware industry is NVIDIA, well-known for its GPUs for both work and gaming, as well as the cutting-edge technologies it develops. Though NVIDIA is a company that rarely gets involved in lawsuits, it currently faces one for allegedly stealing trade secrets from Valeo, a German firm focused on automotive technology development.
In 2021, software developer Mohammad Moniruzzaman joined NVIDIA shortly after leaving Valeo Schalter und Sensoren. Both Valeo and NVIDIA had contracts with another automotive company, which led to a video call between Moniruzzaman, four NVIDIA employees, and four Valeo employees.
Moniruzzaman was responsible for creating, coding, and developing a driving and parking assistance software for Valeo. He possessed valuable documents that he should not have shared. However, he accidentally displayed a PowerPoint presentation containing Valeo’s code and a file named ValeoDocs to both companies’ employees while screen-sharing. Valeo employees took a screenshot to warn him of his mistake, but it was too late.
Valeo has decided to sue NVIDIA for the worker’s mistake, claiming that Moniruzzaman copied the entire source code of the parking assistance software to a personal computer. They believe NVIDIA now possesses this information and may use it illegally.
According to Valeo, the developer stole tens of thousands of files, large amounts of proprietary code, and dozens of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF documents owned by Valeo. These files explained how the technology worked, making it easier to understand the stolen code. The lawsuit alleges that the employee transferred the saved data from a USB memory stick to his NVIDIA computer, and German police later confirmed the presence of stolen source code files and documents.
Two months ago, Moniruzzaman was convicted in Germany for the unlawful acquisition, use, and disclosure of Valeo’s trade secrets. The lawsuit claims that the exposed secrets allowed NVIDIA and its engineers to develop their first parking assistance software, saving hundreds of millions of dollars. In May, the developer informed NVIDIA that he was under investigation, and police had confiscated his laptop and mobile phone.
He also mentioned that the code was only stored on his personal computer and other employees did not have access. Valeo is now seeking a court order to prohibit NVIDIA from using these trade secrets and is demanding financial compensation.