The trade secret battle between Tesla and Rivian goes to court

Harris Marley
Harris Marley

Global Courant
Picture: Batteries News

With almost a dozen employees who worked for Tesla Inc. and left to join Rivian Automotive Inc., Tesla has taken a stand and those employees unfortunately cannot avoid a trial over claims in a trade secrets suit that they breached Tesla confidentiality agreements before they joined its upstart rival.

On Wednesday, a state court judge tentatively denied the employees’ request for a summary adjudication ruling, as that would have dismissed Tesla’s claim that they had signed agreements and other contracts that forbade them from stealing proprietary information and disclosing it to competitors.

The judge granted the employees’ request for a ruling on another claim by Tesla that the workers illegally accessed the company’s computers to copy and steal data.

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If finalised, the ruling would allow the breach of contract issue along with the key claim in the legal battle that Rivian and the former employees violated California’s trade secret laws to proceed to a trial.

In its lawsuit that was initially filed in July 2020 and revised in 2021, Tesla claimed that Rivian had directly hired at least 70 of its former employees, some of whom were “caught red-handed” stealing the core technology for its next-generation batteries.

Rivian has denied any wrongdoing and says Tesla’s lawsuit is an effort to thwart competition in the electric-car market.

The trade secret battle between Tesla and Rivian goes to court

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