Digital Forensics Dispatch
Digital Forensics Blog
by Sensei Enterprises, Inc.
Upside Foods Accuses Former Researcher of IP Theft from Secret Project Team
January 4, 2022
According to a recent article on Wired.com, Upside Foods, a front runner in the burgeoning laboratory grown meat sector, has recently filed a lawsuit against a former employee alleging they may have stolen thousands of files containing confidential data and trade secrets.
The employee, Senior Research Associate Napat Tandikul, was part of a three person team internally referred to as Blue Sky. The Blue Sky team had been tasked with developing new processes and technology for creating the lab grown meat the company is known for. Apparently the team had been making great progress earlier this year, setting records for the rates and efficiency of creation that they were able to achieve. However, after the other two members of the team left the company, one being fired and another quitting, Tandikul was alone in Blue Sky and on April 12th 2021 she too resigned from Upside.
Upside chose to investigate Tandikul’s departure. According to the complaint the company filed in the Northern District of California, digital forensic review of the company’s systems and Tandikul’s work laptop found evidence “indicative of exfiltration.” This evidence included records of over 3,600 files being downloaded from the Upside network onto the laptop between April 11th and 12th as well as web browser history which included the creation of a new Gmail account and access to cloud storage sites WeTransfer and Google Drive.
In a response to the lawsuit Tandikul admitted she downloaded the data but denied she had stolen confidential materials. The parties are negotiating a settlement at this time.
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