On Thursday, Valeo filed a trade secret theft lawsuit against Nvidia after a video call error indicated stolen data.
In March 2022, the two companies held a Microsoft Teams meeting to discuss a joint project they were working on. When it was Nvidia senior staff member Mohammad Moniruzzaman’s turn to speak, he shared his screen for a slide presentation.
When the slide show was over, Moniruzzaman minimized the PowerPoint app, transitioning to a folder named ValeoDocs. Participating employees of the car technology film recognized one of the files as the source code for its proprietary software.
Specifically, the code was the foundation for Valeo’s parking and driving assistance software, an industry Nvidia was trying to enter. The Driving & Comfort Assistance Systems is Valeo’s flagship product, equipped with one-third of new autonomous vehicles across all markets.
Moniruzzaman soon noticed his error and closed the folder, but it was already too late by then. His former colleagues have already taken screenshots.
Soon after, Valeo sued Moniruzzaman, alleging that he took gigabytes of data after leaving Sensoren GmbH, Valeo’s German arm. Following questioning by the German police, the accused confessed to secretly grabbing Valeo’s software and using it for Nvidia.
The admission led German authorities to convict Moniruzzaman in September 2023 for illegal possession of data.
Valeo Seeks Compensation for Damages from Nvidia
Valeo turned its sights on Nvidia following the incident, claiming that the US software giant was the greatest beneficiary of the crime.
In response, the GPU maker said it had no knowledge of Moniruzzaman’s actions until he was placed under investigation.
Moreover, Nvidia explained that the ValeoDocs folder was stored locally on the accused’s laptop and was not shared online. Therefore, nobody else in the company had access to its contents.
The company also stressed that it had no interest in Valeo’s code or its so-called trade secrets. Nvidia has expressed willingness to cooperate fully with any investigation regarding the matter.
Still, Valeo alleged that the stolen code allowed Nvidia to save millions or even hundreds of millions in research and development (R&D) costs.