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The Associated Press March 15, 2010, 6:16PM ET

AK Steel says ex-employees stole trade secrets

AK Steel Holding Corp. has filed a lawsuit alleging three ex-employees of its Rockport, Ind., plant stole company trade secrets.

The lawsuit filed March 11 says Donald Earley resigned as a senior process engineer last year and accepted a job with ThyssenKrupp Steel USA.

The lawsuit claims Earley accessed confidential information and trade secrets from AK Steel's computer systems and contacted AK Steel employees Dona Ashby and Jonathan Salisbury for confidential information. The suit says Ashby and Salisbury also received ThyssenKrupp job offers and resigned.

West Chester-based AK Steel says they all signed confidentiality agreements.

Earley, Ashby and Salisbury declined comment Monday through ThyssenKrupp offices in Calvert, Ala.

AK Steel is seeking unspecified actual and punitive damages.

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