YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Mahwah man today admitted stealing trade secrets worth millions of dollars from Franklin Lakes-based medical technology giant Becton, Dickinson for a self-administered, disposable medication injector.
Ketankumar “Ketan” Maniar, 37, pleaded guilty in federal court in Trenton to a complaint charging him with two counts of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets for his own economic benefit. Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 23.
Using thumb drives and other devices, Maniar admitted, he gathered roughly 8,000 the confidential and protected information over the course of nearly three weeks before he resigned from the company last May.
The day before that, he called in sick and didn’t report to work while downloading BD files using his mobile work laptop.
Federal agents said they also determined that Maniar forwarded to one of his personal email accounts one he’d sent from his BD account to colleagues that contained 60 documents with trade secret or confidential information about the disposable pen.
In the weeks leading up to his resignation, BD representatives also found documents with filenames including the words “resume,” “cover letter,” and/or “thank you letter,” a federal complaint on file in U.S. District Court says.
According to the complaint, Maniar worked for BD as a staff engineer beginning in February 2012 in a group “responsible for manufacturing drug delivery syringes and pen injectors.” That gave him access to the materials.
Before leaving, the FBI says, Maniar collected:
- Picture-by-picture steps of how to assemble the Disposable Pen, along with design and pictorial information about the equipment used to assemble the product;
- Product design-related files;
- Reports and data outlining the Disposable Pen’s design verification, which is extremely critical to obtaining regulatory approval, in the United States and abroad, for the product;
- Schedules detailing BD’s maximum build capacity for the Disposable Pen – i.e., the volume of Disposable Pens that BD can make per day and per year, which is valuable information for competitors;
- Invoices related to the molds and assembly equipment for the Disposable Pen, which includes vendor information and pricing.
FBI agents said they also found and seized an “Entrepreneurial Finance Book,” in which were “flagged, notated, and/or underlined text related to calculating corporate revenues, starting corporate ventures, obtaining venture capital, and protecting intellectual property through trademarks, patents, and other means.”
Becton, Dickinson and Company, which manufactures and sells various medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products, is the world’s leading supplier of medical devices.
It’s also been an innovator in injection- and infusion-based drug delivery since 1906, when it built the first-ever facility in the U.S. to manufacture needles and syringes.
Maniar, an Indian national, has been in custody since the FBI arrested him last June. He was scheduled to leave the U.S. that day.
The federal complaint charged him with downloading enough confidential information to create “a veritable tool-kit for mass producing the Disposable Pen,” which it says he told agents he planned to use to find a job in his native India after resigning from BD. The pen is still under development by BD and hasn’t yet been released commercially, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
FBI agents raided a New Jersey hotel room where he was staying and seized, among other things, “several computers and computer storage devices, including two external hard drives which BD representatives have confirmed are two of the very same hard drives that defendant MANIAR used to download files containing BD Trade Secret Information and/or confidential information,” the complaint says.
The bottoms of the individual pages were marked “Company Confidential,” they said.
BD restricts access to the Franklin Lakes world headquarters and other facilities and requires visitors to register with security and obtain authorization to be there, the FBI complaint notes.
It restricts access to its computer systems, as well, “by maintaining advanced computer security systems and requiring the entry of a user name and password to gain access to BD’s electronic system containing, among other things, trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information.”
It allows employees to access the system off-site but only through the company’s secure, password-protected VPN.
Fishman credited the FBI with making the case, which is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shirley U. Emehelu of his Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.
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