Heraeus Precious Metals North America announced today that it has obtained a USD500,000 judgment under an agreement reached in litigation with former Heraeus Materials Technology LLC employee, Tung Pham, concerning alleged trade secret theft. Pham was employed as a senior scientist for the Photovoltaics Business Unit in West Conshohocken, Pa.
Shortly after Pham’s resignation from Heraeus in April 2011, Heraeus found evidence that Pham had taken highly sensitive Heraeus trade secrets and altered or removed research data without permission relating to the development of a commercially viable lead-free metallization paste. Heraeus took immediate steps to protect and recover its valuable information, including notifying and cooperating with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. As part of the settlement, Pham admitted that he improperly downloaded hundreds of trade secrets and confidential information from Heraeus’ computers immediately before his resignation.
Heraeus invests heavily in research and development, taking substantial measures to protect trade secrets by limiting access to its facilities, protecting computer files through password protection, encryption and other means, and requiring all employees to agree to strict contractual confidentiality provisions. Heraeus’ trade secrets and intellectual property have been compiled at substantial expense to the company.
Heraeus is pleased to have reached some level of closure through this litigation. Heraeus will continue to be vigilant in protecting and exercising its trade secrets and intellectual property for the benefit of the company and the markets it serves.
About the Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit
The Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit is an industry leading developer and manufacturer of silver metallization pastes for the photovoltaic industry. For over 40 years, Heraeus has built a reputation of innovation, extensive research and new product development in thick film technologies for some of the most prominent companies within a variety of industries. In the field of photovoltaics, the Heraeus Photovoltaics Business Unit applies this history and its innovative technology to offer metallization pastes for solar cell applications. The Heraeus SOL Series of silver pastes is specially formulated to provide higher efficiencies and wider processing windows, resulting in better yields and higher output for cell manufacturers.
Heraeus, the precious metals and technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a global, private company with more than 160 years of tradition. Our fields of competence include precious metals, materials and technologies, sensors, biomaterials and medical products, quartz glass, and specialty light sources. In the financial year 2012 Heraeus generated product revenues of EUR4.2 billion and precious metal trading revenues of EUR16 billion. With more than 12,200 employees in over 100 subsidiaries worldwide, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.