Jasmine Worker Accused of Trade Theft
On April 2, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California indicted Patrick J. Murphy, 43, on six counts of trade-secret theft and one count of computer fraud. Specifically, Murphy is accused of stealing computer files from Jasmine and from Silicon Wave Inc., a Bluetooth-chip company. A warrant for Murphy's arrest was issued last week.
Murphy worked at Silicon Wave from December 1998 to March 2000, and at Jasmine from April 2000 to September 2001. Jasmine shut down in 2002, apparently felled by a dependence on Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) business that never surfaced (see Jasmine Networks: Disconnected).
A representative of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco would not discuss how the case originated, but it appears to have been focused on the Jasmine files, as a Silicon Wave representative said his company was unaware of Murphy's actions when investigators came calling. Five of the seven counts against Murphy concern his possession of Jasmine software and documents.
Murphy is accused of stealing register-transfer-level (RTL) files related to one of Jasmine's semiconductors. RTL code is used in the design of an integrated circuit. It does not spell out the individual logic gates of an IC, but it does specify what the chip should be doing from one clock cycle to the next.
The indictment says Murphy downloaded Jasmine's files onto his work computer, then emailed it to a personal account.
With regards to Silicon Wave, Murphy is accused of knowingly keeping seven proprietary documents on his work laptop computer. All seven appear to be product specifications.
Murphy is also accused of storing and altering a Jasmine document entitled, "Scalable Unified Packet Switch Architecture Specification." The indictment says Murphy changed the document's "Jasmine Proprietary and Confidential" label, replacing "Jasmine" with "CoolCom." Murphy allegedly made similar alterations to a document entitled, "Silicon Wave Controller Specification."
If convicted, Murphy faces as much as 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each of six trade theft counts and 5 years and $250,000 in fines for the fraud count.
Efforts to locate Murphy were unsuccessful. He had not been arrested at press time.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading