Tesla is heading to court against former employees who joined rival automaker Rivian in a lawsuit that claims they breached NDA (non-disclosure agreements) related to trade secrets.
On Wednesday, the former Tesla and now Rivian employees attempted to have the suit thrown out via a summary adjudication ruling. However, a State Court Judge tentatively denied their request, so the lawsuit will be going forward.
The Judge did grant the employees’ request for a ruling on a claim by Tesla that they accessed company computers illegally to copy and steal important data, according to Bloomberg.
If that ruling is approved, it would allow the breach of contract issue and the claim that Tesla made against Rivian that it violated California’s trade secret laws to head to a trial.
Tesla opened the lawsuit in late July 2020, stating that it had seen an “alarming pattern” of poaching employees and taking secrets.
Tesla stated in the complaint that “Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky.”
It also claimed that Rivian had hired at least 70 former employees, some of which were “caught red-handed” stealing information related to technology and next-gen batteries.
Additionally, CEO Elon Musk said during an interview in 2020 that Rivian was “doing bad things, so we sued them.”
“It’s not cool to steal our IP, and for people to violate their confidentiality agreements,” Musk added.
The trial had stagnated to an extent in December 2021, and Judge Peter Manoukian said that Tesla had 30 days to produce documents that were relevant to the suit.
The case has moved forward with these latest developments, although Rivian has denied any wrongdoing and claims the suit is Tesla’s attempt to derail competitors in the EV sector.
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