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Email trail leads to ex-employee's arrest for trade secret theft

Microsoft is making industry headlines following the recent arrest of a former employee. The ex-employee, a Russian national who worked for the company as a software architect for seven years, is accused of stealing trade secrets related to Windows 8 pre-release software updates and Microsoft's "Activation Server Software Development Kit." He is also accused of leaking the stolen information to an unnamed blogger. The arrest stems from an internal investigation conducted by Microsoft.

According to the complaint, the former employee told Microsoft’s investigators during an interview that he provided the confidential information to a tech blogger, after uploading the software to his own SkyDrive account. He then allegedly encouraged the blogger to share the software development kit.

The anonymous blogger allegedly stated in an interview that he not only knowingly obtained the “confidential and proprietary Microsoft IP” but he was also “selling Windows Server activation keys on eBay.” The complaint also states that he allegedly attempted to acquire pre-release software as well as attempting to access Microsoft servers. This information was obtained by reviewing computer files found in the blogger's home.

Microsoft has the legal team and financial resources to pursue this matter to its fullest extent. However, small and medium sized businesses in New Jersey and elsewhere around the country may have to consider the financial challenges and anxiety that business litigation can bring. These types of cases can cause diversions from business and personal life as well as financial hardships. Seeking assistant from a trained legal team can help alleviate some of these concerns if you find your business dealing with intellectual property theft or other issues.

Source: ABC News, "Ex-Microsoft Worker Accused of Trade-Secret Leaks," Associated Press, March 20, 2014

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