Tesla accused Rivian Automotive Inc., an automobile company based in the U.S, of stealing its employees and trade secrets. In the lawsuit filed, Tesla stated that four of its former employees took the company’s highly confidential proprietary information after they started working for Rivian.
“Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky,” stated the complaint. One would indulge in such behaviour only to serve the competitive interests of a new employer, said Tesla.
As per the complaint registered in state court in California, Tesla called itself Rivian’s “number one target from which to acquire information.” It also said that its rival competitor has taken 178 ex-Tesla employees, roughly 70 of whom joined Rivian directly from Tesla. The electric car manufacturer suspects at least two more culprits as well.
Rivian responds to allegations
However, Rivian, which claims Ford Motor Co., Amazon and global investment management firms like BlackRock Inc. among its top-level investors, denied the accusations. The company said that it requires all new employees to affirm “that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers’ intellectual property into Rivian systems.”
Founded in 2009 by R.J. Scaringe, Rivian’s 2,400 employees are employed in sites located in California, Michigan and a production facility in Normal, Illinois. Recently, it denied the allegations that the startup was moving its headquarters to Silicon Valley, Tesla’s backyard.
“Rivian is made up of high-performing, mission-driven teams, and our business model and technology are based on many years of engineering, design and strategy development,” said the company in an emailed statement.
The company plans to start its debut production with R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV by mid-2021. It also has plans to manufacture over 100,000 all-electric delivery vans for Amazon, which will be up for production once Rivian’s consumer vehicles are underway.
Back in March, Tesla filed a lawsuit against its former engineers for allegedly sharing its trade secrets to Chinese rival Xpeng Motors and American vehicle company Zoox Inc.