Tesla is suing a former supplier for trade secret theft

Credit: Tesla Asia | X

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against former manufacturing equipment supplier Matthews International, alleging that the firm stole trade secrets about battery manufacturing and shared them with competing companies.

The electric vehicle (EV) maker filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, according to a report from Reuters. In it, Tesla says that the ex-supplier owes damages that the automaker “conservatively estimates will exceed $1 billion,” alleging that the firm misused trade secrets about its dry electrode battery manufacturing equipment.

Tesla argues that Matthews shared the company’s trade secrets with other competing automakers by selling “machines and other technologies embodying Tesla’s trade secrets.” The lawsuit also claims that the firm filed patents saying some of the inventions had been their own, with the patents also sharing private Tesla information.

The suit requests that the courts prevent Matthews from further misuse of Tesla trade secrets, along with giving the automaker access to aforementioned patent applications. Additionally, it asks the judge to order monetary damages from the company.

Tesla and Matthews originally established a partnership in 2019, with the latter providing manufacturing machinery to the automaker.

During the same year, Tesla gained ownership over the dry electrode process in its acquisition of Maxwell Technologies. The process is used in the production of its 4680 battery cells, which the automaker has recently been ramping for use in the Cybertruck.

Tesla’s legal team has been known to go after companies and individuals over trade secrets many times in the past.

On Friday, a man pleaded guilty to stealing trade secrets from Tesla, including manufacturing techniques and other proprietary information. Last year, Tesla also sued a Chinese chip designer for infringing on trade secrets, and it settled out of court in a suit with a previous engineer over private industry information.

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Tesla is suing a former supplier for trade secret theft
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