In its official complaint, Tesla has stated that multiple ex-employees have absconded with confidential information for its competitor, Rivian
American carmaker Tesla has filed a lawsuit against its rival, Rivian, alleging that the latter stole trade secrets from the former. Four ex-Tesla-employees have been named in the lawsuit, with more people allegedly discovered. According to the lawsuit, Rivian has wrongfully acquired details about Tesla’s recruitment practices, salary information of the employees, documents related to scouting and hiring talent, and documents related to project management.
According to Tesla’s official complaint, the company has accused Rivian of specifically targeting and recruiting its employees, encouraging them to gather “ highly sensitive, trade secret information that would give Rivian a huge competitive advantage” before they leave. If found true, these allegations raise serious questions about the morality of the corporation.
Rivian, however, has dismissed the claims, stating that the company has engaged in no such activities. The company has also issued a statement, stating: “Upon joining Rivian, we require all employees to confirm that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers’ intellectual property into Rivian systems. This suit’s allegations are baseless and run counter to Rivian’s culture, ethos and corporate policies.”
Tesla has stated that its internal investigation team has confirmed that its former employees have misappropriated confidential information, under encouragement from the competing manufacturer. The company has also stated that Rivian has hired 178 former Tesla employees, 70 of whom had switched directly from one to the other.
This isn’t the first time Tesla has sued its competitors over trade secret theft. Previously, Tesla sued self-driving startup Zoox, where the latter admitted that multiple employees arrived with sensitive Tesla documents, albeit without any knowledge of the same to the employer. The company also an ongoing lawsuit against XPeng, a Chinese EV startup, which has allegedly stolen Tesla’s autopilot program.
Currently, Rivian is the world’s richest EV manufacturer, having successfully raised over 5 billion USD in funding, with backing from big players like Ford and Amazon. Although the company has existed for over 10 years now, it was only in 2018 that it showcased two new vehicles at the LA motor show and gained global attention. The company’s first products will be ‘R1T’ electric pickup truck and the ‘R1S’ SUV. Both the vehicles are slated for launch in 2021, before Tesla’s Cybertruck hits the global market.