Cisco names rival in trade secret lawsuit

Cisco has updated an existing lawsuit to include its rival, Poly, as well as Poly Executives, in the trade secret dispute.

Although Poly employees were named in the original lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, it was believed the three ex-Cisco employees acted individually. Cisco has suggested new evidence has emerged which drags Poly directly into the saga.

“I cannot emphasize enough that we did not want to bring this litigation,” said Mark Chandler, Chief Legal Officer for Cisco. “We worked hard to have the issues addressed directly by Poly.

“Poly is a competitor in the collaboration space, and we are focused on innovating in the market, not litigating in the courts. This litigation is not about Poly products. It’s about Poly’s refusal to address a serious cultural issue, characterized by repeated efforts to receive and use Cisco trade secrets and confidential information in their business.”

Cisco now believes its rival Poly was proactively aiding the three named defendants, while Executive Vice President, Thomas Puorro, who is also a former Cisco employee, is alleged to have been critical in encouraging the movement of trade secrets from Cisco to Poly. The original lawsuit stated the three individuals acted alone, though Cisco now suggests Poly actively pursued individuals to gain access to Cisco’s trade secrets.

The case focuses around the activities of three individuals, and, in particular, Dr Wilson Chung. Chung worked at Cisco for more than a decade, rising to become a Principal Engineer at the business. Over the first few months of 2019, Chung handed in his notice at Cisco, downloaded more than 3,000 sensitive documents, which eventually emerged when Chung begun his role at Poly in February 2019.

Although the focus of the lawsuit will continue to remain on the three individuals and their actions, dragging Poly into the lawsuit is an important point. Corporations generally don’t like to sue each other, so this would have been a very considered move by Cisco.

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