Tesla accuses Rivian of stealing trade secrets

Rivian R1T all-electric pick-up truck

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Rivian — the startup funded by established giants including Ford, Amazon and T. Rowe Price, of poaching its employees and stealing trade secrets via them. In a 24-page lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California, Tesla mentions that an “alarming” number of its employees have recently joined Rivian, and also accuses the startup of accessing confidential information via one of the recently departed Tesla employees.

Both Rivian and the employee knew full well that taking such information would violate the employee’s non-disclosure obligations to Tesla. Nonetheless, the employee expropriated for Rivian the exact information Rivian sought—highly sensitive, trade secret information that would give Rivian a huge competitive advantage.

Tesla further mentions that it has uncovered 3 additional employees similarly taking its highly valuable, confidential information as they left for Rivian. Two were questioned by Tesla’s investigators, both falsely denied having taken anything, while one of them actively interfered with the investigation, the company said.

Tesla has also mentioned the names of 4 former employees who are currently working for Rivian. Tesla suspects at least 20 of its former employees are now working for Rivian. A copy of the lawsuit can be accessed here.

Automotive News quotes an email response from Rivian denying any wrongdoing. The company said it requires all new employees to confirm “that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers’ intellectual property into Rivian systems.”

Also read: Former Tesla engineer accused of stealing self-driving tech

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