Dassault Systèmes (DS), a French manufacturing software house, has confirmed German media reports that a rival Siemens subsidiary had obtained a confidential database containing details thousands of Dassault customers.
Dassault Système said that Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software (DE) GmbH admitted having found a list of 3,216 DS customer names from Germany, Switzerland and Austria on its internal network.
DS said in a statement Siemens did not explain how such trade secrets found its way to Siemens PLM, nor how it had been used. The data included price lists, organisational charts and cost details on customers' maintenance contracts.
Siemens, which seperately faces a £1bn bribery investigation, returned the customer list to DS and promised to destroy any copies. "Siemens further committed to respect Dassault Systèmes' trade secrets," DS said.
An internal audit at DS showed that the information was properly protected. "Dassault Systèmes deeply regrets that information obtained illegally could be found on a competitor's intranet, and reserves the right to any action it deems appropriate to enforce its rights," it said.
The New York Times reported that a former DS employee was suspected of stealing the data in the hope of getting a job with the Siemens firm.