Tech giant Nvidia is facing a lawsuit filed by car technology firm Valeo, alleging that one of Nvidia’s senior staff members inadvertently revealed evidence of stealing Valeo’s technology secrets during an online presentation. The incident occurred when Mohammad Moniruzzaman, while conducting an online presentation for Valeo, mistakenly displayed a file that Valeo claims contains crucial technology secrets.
Valeo asserts that the stolen technology in question is the source code behind its parking and driving assistance software, an area that Nvidia has been actively seeking to expand into. The lawsuit claims that Mr. Moniruzzaman’s alleged theft was so blatant that the file path on his screen still read “ValeoDocs,” suggesting that it was a folder specifically containing documents taken from Valeo.
According to Valeo, Mr. Moniruzzaman acquired gigabytes of data in 2021 while working for Valeo’s German branch and later joined Nvidia. The two companies had previously collaborated on a joint project, which led to the Microsoft Teams meeting in March 2022, where the alleged data exposure took place.
During the presentation, it is claimed that Mr. Moniruzzaman gave a slide show and subsequently minimized the application he was using. However, he was still sharing his screen, inadvertently exposing the file that Valeo insists contains the source code for its proprietary software. Valeo alleges that participants in the video call immediately recognized the source code and captured a screenshot before Mr. Moniruzzaman could rectify his error.
German authorities subsequently convicted Mr. Moniruzzaman in September 2023 for unlawfully possessing the data. In discussions with German law enforcement, Mr. Moniruzzaman reportedly admitted to stealing Valeo’s software and acknowledged using that software while employed at Nvidia.
Valeo’s lawsuit against Nvidia contends that Nvidia financially benefited from the “stolen trade secrets” and that it has “saved millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of dollars in development costs, and generated profits that it did not properly earn and to which it was not entitled” by using the purloined information to create a competing product. Valeo is seeking substantial damages and an injunction prohibiting Nvidia and its affiliates from utilizing Valeo’s code.
The lawsuit has been filed by Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH, the German arm of the French company Valeo, and it has been submitted to a court in California, where Nvidia is headquartered. The complaint also reveals that Valeo conducted an audit of its systems after the Teams call in March 2022 and discovered that Mr. Moniruzzaman had copied their source code, along with “tens of thousands of files” containing other proprietary information. German law enforcement seized Mr. Moniruzzaman’s Nvidia-owned computers as part of their criminal investigation.
In a related matter, Nvidia issued a letter in June 2022 to Valeo, stating that the company was entirely unaware of Mr. Moniruzzaman’s actions until May 2022, when he informed his employer that he was under investigation. The letter indicated that Mr. Moniruzzaman had claimed the code was “stored only locally on his laptop” and inaccessible to others at Nvidia. Nvidia affirmed that it had no interest in Valeo’s code or its alleged trade secrets and had taken prompt measures to protect Valeo’s asserted rights while fully cooperating with the investigation.