ViChip Corp. v. Lee, 438 F. Supp. 2d 1087 (N.D. Cal. 2006)

ViChip sued Dr. Tsu-Chang Lee, the company’s former CEO, president, secretary, CFO and sole director, for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret misappropriation, violation of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, and conversion. Lee asserted counterclaims against ViChip, alleging misappropriation, unjust enrichment, intentional interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage and for declaratory relief. Lee admitted that he took several of ViChip’s hard copy files, that he deleted certain electronic files from both a desktop and laptop computer owned by the company and that he “tore up” the executed copy of his employee confidentiality agreement as well as the original and a copy of ViChip’s patent assignment form. The district court granted ViChip’s motion for summary judgment as to Lee’s counterclaims and further granted summary judgment in favor of ViChip with respect to its affirmative claims against Lee – ruling that Lee breached his contractual and fiduciary duties to ViChip by removing and destroying the company’s confidential and proprietary information. The court further held that Lee violated the CFAA when he deleted ViChip’s computer files and data.