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Intel engineer gets 3 years for stealing chip secrets

When Biswamohan Pani decided to leave Intel for AMD in the summer of 2008, he was asked point blank at an ‘exit interview’ if he still had any Intel information or property. He lied and, as Intel would later find out, he’d also began working for chip rival AMD. KitGuru checks the position of CCTV cameras around the office before typing up a report.

Let’s be honest, most people will have walked out of their office with a pen, elastic band, paper clip or highlighter at some stage in their lives. While your bosses would rather their company’s stationary remained on company ground, it’s a nice grey area with little impact on your existing employer’s actual business.

Indeed, if you then moved to a rival and carried on using your ‘hot’ rubber band/pen/paper clip, your new boss is unlikely to be accused of gaining competitive advantage.

Mr Pani has been jailed for taking his work home – on a much grander scale.

Not only did he download a ton of secret/proprietary documents before leaving Intel – he also carried on accessing the chip maker’s systems after he left and began working for AMD. The US District Attorney prosecuting the case said that there was no evidence that AMD asked for the documents, used the information or even knew of their existence. Nice.

A highlight of Mr Pani’s theft occurred on 8th June 2008 when he accessed 13 documents with intellectual property worth an estimated $400 million.

Although it’s hard to know what Mr Pani intended to use the information for, because the FBI tracked down the theft and made an arrest in early July – before Mr Pani was able to cash in on his theft.

In the same way that surfing the next does not involve waves, Pani's theft is unlikely to have involved vaults

KitGuru says: Looking at Bulldozer and Core right now, it’s hard to imagine any cross-pollination has occurred. Given the overall value of the information stolen, does 3 years in prison and a $17,500 fine seem enough? Either way, it’s a classic case of ‘Thief Inside’.

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