Tesla wants to take Rivian to court on claims that the latter obtained trade secrets by hiring former Tesla employees, but Rivian is now fighting back.

After Tesla filed a lawsuit against Rivian in July for allegedly obtaining secret intellectual property through hiring former Tesla employees, now Rivian has gone on the legal offensive. The EV manufacturer, whose first models, an electric SUV and a pickup truck are set to debut in 2021, argues that two out of the three claims made by Tesla are false and not only that, but they also did damage to the company’s reputation.

Rivian says that it sees these two claims as unsubstantiated since Tesla did not provide sufficient facts to justify making them. It goes on to say it believes Tesla therefore has no reason to sue, arguing it’s relying more on speculation than actual fact to try to make the case stand.

TechCrunch reports that Rivian’s lawyers say Tesla’s lawsuit is an ‘ improper and malicious attempt to slow ‘ the former’s progress. Furthermore, they argue that negatively affecting Rivian’s image was not the only goal; Tesla also went forth with this lawsuit in order to frighten its own employees into not leaving the company (and finding employment with Rivian).

Rivian’s lawyers filed a motion with the California Superior Court in Santa Clara, in which they said they have

‘ rigorous policies and procedures to make sure it does not obtain confidential information from other companies when on-boarding employees. ‘

The source also points out that the timing for Tesla’s lawsuit may not have been accidental, since Rivian recently announced that it had secured $2.5-billion in funding (and over 30,000 reservations). This could just be a coincidence or it could be a case (as Rivian claims) of Tesla genuinely trying to slow down a company that is rapidly shaping up to become a main rival (even if it has so far sold no vehicles at all).

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