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Former Becton Dickinson engineer charged with stealing secrets for injector pen

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former Mahwah man was arrested by federal agents this morning and charged with stealing trade secrets worth millions of dollars from Franklin Lakes-based medical technology giant Becton, Dickinson for a self-administered, disposal, medication pen injector.

Ketankumar “Ketan” Maniar is due for a first appearance in U.S. District Court in Newark this afternoon on an FBI complaint accusing him of 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 last month.

The pen is still under development by BD and hasn’t yet been released commercially, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said this morning.

Maniar had been scheduled to leave the U.S. today following his May 24 resignation.

On Monday, the FBI searched a New Jersey hotel room where he was staying.

There, they 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.

Although agents were still reviewing the materials, the complaint says the bottoms of the individual pages are marked “Company Confidential.”

Using thumb drives and other devices, Maniar gathered roughly 8,000 the confidential and protected information from May 5 to May 24,  his last day on the job, the complaint says.

The day before that, he “called in sick and did not report to work” and was “busily “downloading BD files using his mobile work laptop,” it alleges.

Federal agents also determined that Maniar on May 16 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, the federal complaint says.

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,” it says.

According to the complaint, Maniar worked for BD as a staff engineer from February 2012 until his resignation late last month in a group “responsible for manufacturing drug delivery syringes and pen injectors.” That gave him access to the materials, the FBI complaint says.

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.

The company’s competitors “could benefit greatly from this secret knowledge by learning what products BD is developing or using as part of its ongoing efforts to develop products to reduce the spread of infection, enhance diabetes treatment, and advance drug delivery,” the FBI complaint says.

For that reason, the company “takes many steps to protect its trade secrets and its confidential and proprietary information,” it says, including requiring employees to sign documents agreeing not to disclose that information or use it for personal purposes.

They also must agree that they will protect the company’s trade secrets and will formally give BD “any rights in any inventions or research conducted or developed while employed [there].” The company even conducts annual web-based security and confidentiality training.

Maniar agreed to these terms when he was hired, the FBI said.

Among other requirements, Maniar agreed to turn over all drawings, manuals, notebooks, reports, customer and vendor lists, as well as samples, prototypes and electronic materials when he left, and to not use or access BD’s computer system at any time “for personal gain or for benefit of any third party” without authorization from the company, according to the complaint.

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 bureau 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.

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