A court case that was started in 2020 by Tesla against several of its former employees, alleging that they breached their non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) after getting jobs at Rivian, will head to trial, Bloomberg writes.
As per the source, a state court judge denied the almost a dozen employees' request for a summary adjudication ruling yesterday, which would have dismissed Tesla’s claim that they had signed agreements and other contracts that forbade them from stealing proprietary information and disclosing them to competitors.
At the same time, however, the judge granted the now-Rivian employees’ request for a ruling on another claim by Tesla that the workers illegally accessed the company’s computers to copy and steal data. If finalized, this ruling would allow the breach of contract issue along with the key claim in the case that Rivian and the former workers violated California’s trade secret laws to proceed to trial.
The lawsuit was originally filed in 2020 and revised in 2021, with Tesla claiming that Rivian had hired at least 70 of its former employees, some of whom were allegedly caught stealing information about its next-generation batteries.
Three years ago, Tesla stated in its complaint that “Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky. One would engage in that behavior only for an important benefit – to use it to serve the competitive interests of a new employer.”
At the same time, Rivian denied the allegations, adding that it actually requires new employees to confirm they are not bringing intellectual property from their former employers with them. The company’s original response from 2020 reads as follows:
“[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. This requires the contribution and know-how of thousands of employees from across the technology and automotive spaces.”
In a somewhat ironic turn of events, Rivian recently announced a partnership with Tesla for access to the 12,000+ Supercharger locations across North America starting next year.
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