Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Palantir Has Filed a Dramatic Lawsuit Against a Major Early Investor"

From Fortune:
These are some serious allegations.

Palantir, a secretive firm that supplies data analytics to companies and governments, filed a dramatic lawsuit against one of its early investors, claiming the investor stole confidential information for his own use.

In a complaint filed last week in California state court, Palantir alleges Marc Abramowitz betrayed the company by asking for confidential information about key projects in fields like cyber-insurance and clinical drug trials, and then filing for patents based on what he learned.

Abramowitz is a 63-year-old investor and lawyer who lives in Palo Alto and maintains a low public profile. Palantir’s complaint describes him as a “Major Investor” because he owns at least five million shares in the company, and because as a long-time adviser who spent so much time at the firm, he even asked for an office in 2014.

Palantir was co-founded in 2004 by mercurial billionaire Peter Thiel. It offers its analytics service to an extensive list of clients in the private sector and, more recently, has made major inroads into Washington, D.C.

The complaint, which was spotted by Law.com, is available online here. (I’ve underlined some of the most relevant bits.)

The complaint describes Abramowitz’s behavior as “brazen,” including an alleged series of visits in which he asked executives to share information about secret business plans in order to use the information for himself. It also says his lawyers invoked an Investors Rights Agreement to demand confidential documents.

According to Palantir, other investors sought to stop him by amending the company’s corporate documents on September 1.

Fortune sought comment from Abramowitz via two law firms that are representing him but did not immediately receive a response.

Palantir’s allegations, if true, are remarkable—especially the ones concerning Abramowitz’s intellectual property filings. The company says these amount to false claims to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office....MORE