According to a lawsuit filed yesterday in the U.S. district court for North California, the Elon Musk-led electric car company Tesla is accusing four former employees of stealing proprietary information and trade secrets — and handing the material over to Zoox, a rival self-driving transport startup.
“The theft here was blatant and intentional,” Tesla wrote in a filing, as reported by Business Insider. “In the process, they misappropriated Tesla’s trade secrets, violated their agreements with Tesla, and breached their duties of loyalty, all with the knowledge and support of Zoox.”
More than 100 former Tesla employees now work for Zoox, according to BI‘s reporting, which is now valued at $3.2 billion.
Tesla claims the four former workers stole “proprietary information and trade secrets to help Zoox leapfrog past years of work needed to develop and run its own warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations.” According to the filing, a former Tesla warehouse supervisor called Christian Dement forwarded documents to his personal email address with the subject line “good stuff.”
As per the lawsuit, the employees signed a non-disclosure agreement to keep Tesla information confidential and within one year of leaving the company.
The story is still developing. Neither Zoox nor Tesla have yet made public statements regarding the lawsuit.
“While Tesla respects that employees may decide to pursue other employment opportunities, it must take action when current and former employees abuse their positions of trust and blatantly violate their legal and contractual obligations to Tesla,” read the filing.
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