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The logo marks the showroom and service center for the US automotive and energy company Tesla in Amsterdam on October 23, 2019. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tesla Is Suing Electric Vehicle Company, Rivian, Over Trade Secrets Theft

Tesla is suing rival electric vehicle company Rivian over theft of trade secrets and confidential information. Tesla says it found a “disturbing pattern” of its former employees taking confidential information and trade secrets to new jobs at Rivian.

 

According to Bloomberg, Tesla also claims that Rivian is “knowingly encouraging” the behavior. The giant EV maker is seeking unspecified punitive damages for the action which it calls “despicable, wanton, oppressive, willful, malicious, [and] duplicitous”.

 

Rivian has hired about 2,400 employees across the automotive and tech industries since 2018. The number includes 178 former Tesla workers, according to the suit.

 

The company, however, says that its policies and culture are contrary to the allegations and labels them “baseless”.

 

“We admire Tesla for its leadership in resetting expectations of what an electric car can be. 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,” Rivian said in a statement.

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In the lawsuit, Tesla names four of its former employees and Rivian as defendants. The company also says it has identified more people who may have also stolen and brought confidential company information to the EV startup.

 

According to Tesla, two of the named defendants have admitted to taking information to the rival company.

 

One, Tami Pascale, was a senior manager in Tesla’s staffing department. Tesla alleges that Pascale “took at least ten confidential and proprietary documents from Tesla’s network” one day after signing Rivian’s offer letter. The documents include candidate lists, information regarding how the automaker finds potential hires, and a “detailed internal write-up of an executive-level candidate.”

 

Tesla says Pascale “confessed to taking the confidential and proprietary documents”, after being pressed by its investigative team. But that she had initially denied the allegations in early July 2020.

 

The second, Jessica Siron, was a manager in Tesla’s environmental, health, and safety department. Sirion had allegedly sent documents to her personal Gmail account after signing an offer letter from Rivian. Tesla also claims Siron initially denied the claims, but later admitted to sending one document after being pressed.

 

This is not the first time Tesla is suing for the theft of trade secrets. The company had accused former employee, Anthony Levandowski of stealing data about self-driving cars on behalf of Uber.

 

The company also recently settled a suit with another electric vehicle maker, Zoox over the theft of trade secrets.

 

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