varun gupta

Intel has sued Indian American engineer Varun Gupta, who joined Microsoft after leaving Intel, over trade secrets. (GettyImages photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Intel is suing a former Oregon employee, alleging he took trade secrets when he left for Microsoft and used the information to gain an advantage in later business negotiations with Intel.

Engineer Varun Gupta worked at Intel for 10 years before joining Microsoft in January 2020, according to the suit. He allegedly loaded Intel trade secrets onto two USB drives before quitting and then accessed them on his Microsoft-issued laptop, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Gupta could not immediately be reached by the newspaper for comment. Intel and Microsoft are increasingly rivals as Microsoft develops its own chip engineering capabilities.

In this case, however, the litigation indicates Intel and Microsoft worked together to investigate. Intel's complaint claims Gupta denied knowing the location of one USB drive, but later turned it over to Microsoft for analysis.

“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 alleged in a Feb. 5 filing.

An internal investigation concluded that he had transferred 3,900 Intel documents to a USB drive, according to the complaint.

Intel seeks unspecified damages in the suit, attorney fees and an injunction preventing Gupta from using or disclosing the material on the USB drive. It filed the suit Feb. 5 in U.S. District Court in Portland.

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