Order in the Court

Tesla Says Electric Car Rival Rivian Keeps Stealing Secrets

Tesla is suing Rivian, but Rivian says Tesla won't even say what it stole.

Oct 4 by Dan Robitzski
Manny Becerra / Futurism  https://unsplash.com/@mannyb
Image by Manny Becerra / Futurism https://unsplash.com/@mannyb

Tesla’s beef with Rivian, a rival electric car and battery company, began in July 2020 when Tesla sued Rivian for allegedly poaching staff and stealing confidential trade secrets.

Now, over a year later, Tesla has added allegations of even more poaching and theft of trade secrets to its ongoing lawsuit, Bloomberg reports, arguing that Rivian was undeterred by its first filing. From Tesla’s point of view, Rivian is trying to get an unfair edge in the industry by coaxing staff to switch sides and share what they know, but Rivian says Tesla hasn’t actually substantiated its accusations — and Tesla, true to its founder’s style, is using the opportunity to take shots at Rivian’s tech.

“Now apparently under pressure from investors after nearly a dozen years without producing a single commercial vehicle,” Tesla wrote in the new filing, according to Bloomberg, “Rivian has intensified its unlawful efforts.”

Oddly, Rivian argues that Tesla hasn’t actually said what it is that the company supposedly stole, calling into question the validity of its accusations. At the same time, maybe Tesla is being secretive so as to not give away even more proprietary information.

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“For several of its trade secrets it has provided so little detail that Rivian is unable to ascertain what Tesla is claiming as its intellectual property,” Rivian wrote in a court filing, according to Bloomberg, “let alone whether what it is claiming is or could be secret.”

This isn’t the first time that Tesla beefed with a startup that struggling to produce an electric truck. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk previously sparred with the automaker Nikola and its CEO Travis Milton, who ended up being charged with fraud over his company’s unfounded claims of progress.

There’s no indication that Rivian is in the same boat as Nikola by any means, but it is interesting that attempting to develop an electric truck and getting on Tesla’s bad side seem to go hand in hand.

As for this case, it’s not yet clear what will happen. As Bloomberg notes, the California state judge presiding over the case allowed Tesla to file its new allegations — but also said that Rivian’s claim that the allegations were unsupported has “some appeal to it.”

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READ MORE: Tesla Amps Up Fight With Rivian, Cites Battery Secrets Theft [Bloomberg]

More on Rivian: Elon Musk Shreds Bill Gates for Insulting Electric Semi Trucks


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