Pfizer Has Sued A Long-Term Employee Accused Of Stealing Over 12,000 Documents

News agency Reuters reported that Pfizer Inc. has filed a lawsuit against a veteran employee who allegedly stole “scores” of proprietary information, including those linked to the company’s COVID-19 vaccine, as she prepared to leave for a competitor.

Pfizer claimed Chun Xiao Li broke her confidentiality agreement by uploading more than 12,000 data from her company-issued laptop to her personal accounts and devices without permission, according to a complaint filed in federal court in San Diego on Tuesday.

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Pfizer World Headquarters

The allegedly pirated documents cover a wide range of issues, including Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccination tests and recommendations, as well as an examination of why Pfizer and BioNTech’s partnership was effective in comparison to others.

Ms Li’s actions, combined with her apparent impending start at Xencor, rendered it extremely likely that she would divulge and/or use Pfizer’s confidential, proprietary, and trade-secret information, according to the drug maker.

The lawsuit, filed by Pfizer read that “although Ms. Li initially gave the appearance of cooperation, it turns out that [she] instead has misled Pfizer about what took, how she took it, when and why and those files (and possibly others) can be found.” It further mentioned that “She went so far as to provide Pfizer’s security team a decoy laptop, leading Pfizer to believe it was the one she used to download the 12,000 files from her Google Drive.” But the “forensic analyses confirmed it was not,”.

The Pfizer logo is pictured on their headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 9, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
The Pfizer logo is pictured on their headquarters building in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., caption and Image Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Pfizer announced that Ms Li will be leaving the firm after 15 years to work for Xencor, a California-based clinical-stage company focused on cancer and autoimmune illnesses. Competitors, according to Pfizer, have been recruiting its personnel “relentlessly, especially during 2021.”

U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo temporarily barred Li from utilizing Pfizer’s trade secrets in an order issued late Tuesday, saying the company’s lawyers can check accounts and devices where she may have kept them. The judge has set a hearing on Dec. 9 to consider a longer injunction

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