The electric car manufacturer Tesla has filed a lawsuit against the startup Rivian, in which the Californians accuse the competitor of having stolen trade secrets. Tesla sees an “alarming scheme” to poach important employees.
The case, which has already been opened in a court in San Francisco, is also directed against four former Tesla employees who are said to have moved to Rivian with confidential data. It seems that most of the files allegedly taken were primarily concerning employee recruitment networks and HR departments. Tesla’s internal investigation team says they discovered the cases of files being moved and kept in the days after employees were offered positions at Rivian.
Rivian denies the accusations. In a statement, the company writes that the accusations are “contrary to Rivian’s corporate culture, ethos and policies.”
This is not the first time Tesla has taken action against former employees who allegedly took trade secrets to competitors. In one case, an employee who moved to Xpeng, a Chinese electric car start-up, allegedly stole data on autonomous driving.
Tesla and Rivian are both working on electric pickup trucks, a very lucrative segment at least in the USA. The Tesla Cybertruck with its futuristic design is a different concept but will compete directly with the Rivian R1T. Both vehicles are scheduled to be launched in 2021, other car manufacturers – such as Ford with an electric F-150 or General Motors with the GMC Hummer EV, and startups such as Lordstown Motors with the Endurance and Nikola with the Badger – also want to launch large electric pickup trucks.