The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 19, 2013

Technology makes trade secrets a tempting target for theft


U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven C. Mannion put the case on hold last week because “plea negotiations are currently in progress.”

BD, a global company with $7.7 billion in annual sales, declined to comment for this report, except to cite its earlier statement confirming that Maniar was an employee and that it referred the case to prosecutors.

“We take very seriously the protection of our confidential information and trade secrets,” the company said.

In January 2012, BD hired Maniar as a staff engineer at a salary of $115,000, with a $15,000 signing bonus, according to a letter filed in court. He also signed an agreement to comply with a six-page company trade secret policy, limiting the disclosure of company secrets.

As a staff engineer on the Vystra project, he “was primarily responsible for working with external vendors in overseeing the component molding and assembly equipment construction,” the suit says. That position gave him access to BD’s design, specifications, blueprints, manufacturing plans, materials, processes, equipment and customer lists” for the pen, the suit says.

The company announced the fruits of its efforts on Vystra nine months after he arrived, touting the pen as a versatile injector that would work with a wide range of therapies that require frequent, low-volume drug injections and variable dosing. The aim was to meet the growing trend of patients injecting their own medications, BD said.

“Our goal is to help patients become more empowered in managing their health with self-injection technology,” Suky Upadhyay, BD’s acting CFO, said on a conference call with investors in March. “We see significant growth opportunities in this area.”

So did Maniar, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that on May 23, while Maniar was out sick, he spent part of the day downloading confidential company documents. The next day he told BD he was leaving and would return to India. That was his last day on site at BD, the suit says.

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