Intel Sues Engineer Who Left for Microsoft

Posted on February 9, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft with 9 Comments

Intel this week sued a former engineer who left the company for Microsoft, alleging that he took trade secrets with him.

“In his new role at Microsoft, Gupta used the confidential information and trade secrets he misappropriated from Intel, deploying that information in head-to-head negotiations with Intel concerning customized product design and pricing for significant volumes of Xeon processors,” Intel’s legal filing notes.

Varun Gupta was an Intel engineer for 10 years before leaving for Microsoft in January 2020, according to a report in The Oregonian. The chipmaking giant alleges that Gupta took two USB drives containing trade secrets with him when he left and that one of them was accessed via a Microsoft-issued laptop.

Intel further notes in its suit that Gupta originally told the company that he didn’t know where one of the drives was, but that he later turned it over to Microsoft for analysis. The second drive, which contained Intel trade secrets was discarded, Gupta said.

Interestingly, Intel and Microsoft worked together to investigate the allegations. It was Microsoft, for example, that determined one of the USB drives was accessed on a Microsoft-issued laptop.

Intel seeks unspecified damages in its suit against Gupta, plus attorney fees. And it wants an injunction preventing Gupta from using or disclosing the trade secrets on the USB drive.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Intel Sues Engineer Who Left for Microsoft”

  1. angusmatheson

    Microsoft is shiving it’s partners. First it started making Surface computers - and announced them without even telling many OEMs. Now it is actively and obviously trying to replace intel - with Windows on ARM devices (one might argue RT started this, but current offering of full Windows on ARM seem more of an attack on intel itself) and AMD surface laptops. Microsoft is even making custom silicon directly completing with intel. You cannot be a partner and a competitor at the same time. Intel now knows that true money Microsoft makes will be at least partially invested in making Intel obsolete.

    • anoldamigauser

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      "Interestingly, Intel and Microsoft worked together to investigate the allegations. It was Microsoft, for example, that determined one of the USB drives was accessed on a Microsoft-issued laptop."

      How is that shiving your partner? It seems they poached an engineer who was ethically challenged, and when it came to light, informed their partner that that person, now an employee of Microsoft, had acted unethically. Seems to me that Microsoft was, in this case, an upstanding corporate citizen.

    • murray judy

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      Every cloud provider is making custom silicon to give them an edge in running specialized workloads. There's nothing unique about what Microsoft is doing.

    • bigdcdn

      In reply to Angusmatheson:
      Looks to me like they are trying to do to Intel what they did with their OEM partners and that is wake them from their slumber. The PC market is now more innovative and responsive to customers than ever. With Microsoft, Apple, AMD etc. etc. lighting a fire under Intel hopefully we will get the same result better faster stronger and maybe even cheaper, doubtful but we can dream. The fact they assisted in the investigation indicates they are not trying to shiv their partner, from my point of view.

  2. b6gd

    Intel secrets? How to make 14nm CPU's.

  3. aelaan

    You would think... NDA? And in this day and age, why are things on a dumbdrive.

    • ejuly

      In reply to aelaan:
      Gupta had an NDA that is why MS is helping and Intel is suing. Nothing here about criminal - but that may change if they discover h stole the info.

  4. dallasnorth40

    Microsoft and Intel are "partners".

    So why do they care?