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Joseph Sullivan, an Assistant U.S. Attorney who specialized in high-tech prosecutions, has taken a job with eBay Inc. Sullivan was a founding member of the Northern District of California’s high-tech CHIP (Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property) unit after coming to the district from the Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s Office. He played key roles in some of the district’s more notable cases, including the prosecution of the Software Inc. and ElcomSoft Ltd. cases. “The big thing for me was that I was there for the founding of the CHIP unit, and it really became the model for others around the country,” Sullivan said from his new office. Sullivan, now senior counsel for eBay, said he will help ensure the security of eBay’s auction Web site, ferret out prohibited and fraudulent items, and respond to any law enforcement or regulatory inquiries. Sullivan is well known for his prosecution of several high-profile high-tech cases. In the Software Inc. case, prosecutors broke up a scheme to sell pirated software over a seemingly legitimate Web site, www.software-inc.com. It was one of the first cases where prosecutors won the forfeiture of a Web site domain name. The Web site is no longer in use. He also worked on the prosecution of ElcomSoft Ltd., which began when federal agents arrested Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov for creating a program which circumvented Adobe Systems Inc.’s encrypted eBooks. A decision from U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte of the Northern District of California on a defense motion to dismiss the case is anticipated soon. Sullivan said he will be working closely with eBay attorney Rob Chestnut, another former federal prosecutor. “We’re real excited to have Joe here on the team,” said Chestnut, eBay’s vice president in charge of rules, trust and safety. He added that Sullivan will not lack for compelling work. “No, not at all,” said Chestnut, who is taking on a role that focuses more on eBay’s international business while Sullivan assumes some of his past duties. “We do such a large volume — so many items, we’re in 27 countries. There’s no shortage of interesting issues.” EBay has often found itself on the cutting edge of Internet case law, including the efforts of French courts to block the sale of Nazi memorabilia and an investigation into a painting falsely portrayed as a lost work of California figurative master Richard Diebenkorn. Meanwhile, Sullivan’s departure leaves a hole for the U.S. Attorney’s Office to fill. “Hopefully we can get someone of his caliber to replace him, but that’s a tall order,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Nadel, who heads the CHIP unit. “He is going to be very much missed in our office.”

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