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Former Duracell employee stole trade secrets

By Jessica Wohl
Reuters
Friday, February 2, 2007; 3:17 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A former Duracell employee pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of stealing trade secrets from the battery company, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut said.

Edward Grande waived indictment and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Janet Hall in Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor said in a statement.

Grande, who had been employed as a cell development technologist at Duracell, faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Duracell Corp., which is based in Bethel, Conn., is a unit of Procter & Gamble Co. (PG.N).

"While under employment with Duracell, Grande shared confidential corporate documents with external sources," P&G said in statement.

Grande's attorney declined to comment on Friday.

O'Connor said that, according to court documents and statements made in court, Grande copied and downloaded research regarding Duracell's AA batteries to his computer between March and June 2006.

He then sent the information to two of Duracell's rivals "in order to cause economic injury to Duracell and to provide the competitors with an economic advantage," O'Connor's statement said.

According to O'Connor's office, neither of Duracell's competitors had sought the trade secret information and both sent the information they received back to Duracell.

The competitors were not named in court documents and Grande's attorney declined to disclose their names.

Duracell is the largest U.S. battery maker, followed by Energizer Holdings Inc. (ENR.N) and Spectrum Brands Inc.'s (SPC.N) Rayovac.

Sentencing was scheduled for April 23.

© 2007 Reuters