Trade-se­crets theft al­leged

Com­pany claims ar­chi­tect who had been on the staff took its in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - Sam Hur­ley

An Auck­land ar­chi­tect has been charged with steal­ing trade se­crets and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty from a firm by al­legedly hack­ing into its com­puter sys­tem.

Michael Christo­pher Davies, 45, ap­peared in the Auck­land Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day on five charges.

He faces four counts of ac­cess­ing Con­text Ar­chi­tects’ server and ob­tain­ing files re­lat­ing to the firm’s ArchiCAD tem­plate, a com­puter soft­ware pro­gram.

Davies is also ac­cused of tak­ing a model from the firm and a tem­plate which con­tained a trade secret.

The al­leged of­fend­ing is said to have oc­curred from Jan­uary to March this year, court doc­u­ments read.

Davies told the Her­ald: “There had been some al­le­ga­tions made, I re­fute them, and will de­fend them in a court of law.”

The English-born ar­chi­tect also con­firmed he worked for the Taka­puna-based com­pany De­sign Part­ners.

The firm’s web­site de­scribes the Pon­sonby man as a De­sign Part­ners prin­ci­pal with more than 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in ar­chi­tec­ture. He is said to have ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence across all sec­tors of ar­chi­tec­ture in­clud­ing res­i­den­tial (mas­ter­plan­ning, pas­sive trop­i­cal housing, lux­ury high-end houses), com­mer­cial, hospi­tal­ity, civic and naval ar­chi­tec­ture.

“He has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence with high-den­sity and mixed-use de­vel­op­ments.”

Davies also stud­ied and worked as a tech­ni­cian be­fore be­com­ing an ar­chi­tect, the web­site said.

A state­ment from Con­text Ar­chi­tects said Davies was a for­mer mem­ber of its staff and ac­cused him of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty theft.

“De­spite a ro­bust digital se­cu­rity sys­tem, the for­mer staff mem­ber was in a se­nior po­si­tion where he was able to access our files,” the com­pany said.

Con­text Ar­chi­tects said it had been work­ing with the po­lice’s Fi­nan­cial Crimes Group.

Davies will next ap­pear in court on Fe­bru­ary 14.

Michael Davies

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