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AMD’s had its IP stolen, resulting in “ongoing criminal investigation”

New AMD reference card design

AMD has posted a statement “on theft of graphics IP” (intellectual property), saying that it was contacted by someone who “claimed to have test files related to a subset of our current and future graphics products”. This comes after AMD’s next generation of consumer GPUs, Navi 2X, were officially announced on AMD’s financial analyst day, March 5.

These Navi 2X GPUs, based on RDNA 2 architecture (and forming part of the Xbox Series X and PS5’s specs), should include AMD’s fabled ‘Big Navi’, the 4K-disrupting, RTX 2080 Ti-busting “Nvidia killer”. AMD also has Zen 3 CPUs targeted for launch later this year. There are plenty of juicy things this pink panther could have tried to get his or her hands on, then. But AMD says the stolen information “is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products”.

The company states that “at AMD, data security and the protection of our intellectual property are a priority. In December 2019, we were contacted by someone who claimed to have test files related to a subset of our current and future graphics products, some of which were recently posted online, but have since been taken down.

“While we are aware the perpetrator has additional files that have not been made public, we believe the stolen graphics IP is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products. We are not aware of the perpetrator possessing any other AMD IP. We are working closely with law enforcement officials and other experts as a part of an ongoing criminal investigation.”

It’s unclear why the perpetrator decided to contact the victim in this case. Hardware manufacturers, especially the ‘big three’ (AMD, Intel, and Nvidia), have been contending with leakers for a very long time, and are always trying new methods of discovery – even going so far as to film audiences at events to discover who is taking photos. And they haven’t been shy about taking legal action against such things before.

Considering this vigilance, what made this person think it was a good idea to contact AMD (or steal its IP to begin with, for that matter)? I hope it was worth it – but considering the stolen IP “is not core to the competitiveness or security of our graphics products”, it probably wasn’t.

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