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The Case against Avant!

How software maker Avant! allegedly stole trade secrets from rival Cadence--and got nabbed--resulting in one of the computer industry's biggest espionage prosecutions.

MARCH, 1994: Gerry Hsu quits Cadence, reportedly telling CEO Joe Costello that he would probably leave high tech altogether. A few days later, Hsu emerges as CEO at competitor ArcSys, Avant!'s predecessor.

SEPTEMBER, 1994: Key Cadence engineer Mitch Igusa quits. Subsequent investigation reveals that Igusa allegedly E-mailed four crucial files containing trade secrets to his home PC before leaving.

MAY, 1995: ArcSys, allegedly using stolen Cadence technology, goes public. Its market value quickly surpasses $1 billion.

AUGUST, 1995: Igusa is charged. Private investigators for Cadence discover an alleged ''slush fund'' set up by Avant! to pay him for his efforts.

DECEMBER, 1995: FBI officers raid Avant!'s offices.

MAY, 1996: Cadence files for a preliminary injunction to prevent Avant! from selling possibly tainted software. In March, the injunction was denied, but the presiding judge suggested there was evidence that at least some Cadence code had been stolen.

APRIL, 1997: Six Avant! managers are charged with trade-secret theft and conspiracy.

DATA: BUSINESS WEEK


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Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
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