Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Technology & Telecommunications

FRANCE: Siemens Accused of Posting a Rival’s Secrets

by DAVID JOLLYThe New York Times
September 3rd, 2008

PARIS — In another black eye for Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate found itself accused on Wednesday of posting a rival’s business secrets on an internal computer network.

The rival, Dassault Systèmes, a French software maker, said confidential business data related to 3,216 customers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria had been posted on the intranet of Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software.

It said Siemens had not provided any explanation of how the data was obtained, or how the information might have been used.

Dassault said Siemens had returned the customer list and given assurances that any copies would be destroyed.

Siemens, based in Munich, later confirmed that Dassault had contacted it in early June regarding a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper regarding “an alleged infringement of trade secrets.”

The newspaper said — and Dassault confirmed — that the data had included organizational charts, price lists and the cost of software maintenance for individual customers.

Siemens said it had handed the files over to Dassault and denied any infringement, adding that it was surprised by Dassault’s statements.

Siemens is already reeling from a bribery scandal that has cast its business practices in a harsh light. A law firm hired by Siemens has identified 1.3 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in suspicious payments that might have been bribes to win business, and German prosecutors are investigating more than 300 former and current Siemens employees on suspicion of wrongdoing.

Dassault Systèmes, based in Suresnes, France, and Siemens P.L.M. Software produce computer tools for digitally designing and managing products.

Bernard Charlès, the chief executive of Dassault, said that Siemens might not have actually sought the data but might have received the files from a third party. Nonetheless, he said, business ethics demand that a company return the data.

Mr. Charlès declined to identify anyone suspected of having illegally obtained the data but said it appeared to have been a Dassault employee in Germany who took confidential data when leaving the company. The employee left Dassault on good terms, he said, but might have hoped to get a job at Siemens P.L.M.

He stressed that the data had been properly secured. “We did not lose those files,” Mr. Charlès said. “They were stolen.”

He said that the two companies had agreed to settle out of court and that Dassault reserved the right to seek damages if further breaches were discovered.

Tony Affuso, chief executive of Siemens P.L.M., did not respond to requests for an interview.





This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.