ATLANTA (AP) - UPS suspects that one of its pilots obtained secret business plans for its aircraft fleet and then posted them online, the shipping giant said in court records.
In a federal lawsuit filed this week, UPS said its strategic plans are highly confidential, and that a PowerPoint presentation containing the trade secrets was created and intended only for senior executives.
"At some point, an unknown UPS pilot wrongfully obtained a copy of the PowerPoint," UPS states in its lawsuit. Then, in late September, "the unknown UPS pilot posted statements on an online discussion forum about UPS' confidential strategic plans regarding its aircraft."
Now, the company is taking steps to identify whoever was responsible for posting the strategic plans on an internet message board frequented by pilots.
A judge this week gave the company permission to subpoena records from Yahoo Holdings Inc. for emails from a specific Yahoo.com email address. It's requesting all emails sent to and from the address since Aug. 31.
UPS also plans to subpoena records from the Louisville, Kentucky-based Independent Pilots Association in order to get names, IP addresses and other information about people who made comments about the plans on the union's internet forum. It's also seeking information to identify anyone who clicked on a link to view the information.
Separately, the company is also seeking information about people who posted on another internet site, airlinepilotcentral.com , with the user names "Commando," ''UPSet," and "nightrider," court records state.
The company filed the lawsuit in order to find out who obtained the plans and posted them online, UPS spokesman Steve Gaut said Friday.
"We know for certain that the presentation in question was inappropriately removed from the company," Gaut said. "And we know the information was inappropriately displayed in public internet forums."
No criminal charges have been filed in connection to the case, and Gaut said the company is still trying to gather information before deciding its next steps.
"It could very well lead to criminal charges," he said. "At this point it depends on what we find out."