Pfizer Inc has filed a lawsuit against former employee, Chun Xiao Li. Pfizer alleges that Li uploaded more than 12,000 files that included “confidential Pfizer documents,” to a personal Google Drive account and to personal devices.
The complaint said Li was employed as Associate Director of Statistics in drugmaker Pfizer’s Global Product Development group in La Jolla, California. As a part of this role, Li had access to confidential trade secret information, specifically regarding the evaluation of possible drugs for efficiency and safety in human clinical trials prior to submission of information to the FDA for approval. As a part of her employment, Li was required to sign a confidentiality agreement, as well as numerous staff trainings regarding the handling of trade secrets and agreements not to disclose this information.
The complaint went on to explain that, as part of Pfizer’s internal security regarding trade secrets, the company employs computer forensics specialists to track the use of information, employee activity on company devices, and alert for suspicious activity. Pfizer claims that one of these alerts showed that Li had transferred over 12,000 files to a Google Drive account and a review of her employee email showed a job offer from a competitor.
After being confronted by the forensics team, the plaintiff accuses the defendant of having deleted the files from the Google storage account, but not before transferring them to another computer. Upon demand of the plaintiff, the defendant produced her personal computer, but this machine did not match the download path from the Google Drive. On the other hand, the complaint said, the personal computer did show evidence of other Pfizer files that had been deleted prior to turning over the personal computer.
In its suit, Pfizer alleges misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and more. The company is seeking a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief to “prevent further irreparable harm” while it works through arbitration proceedings with Li.
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