Report: Rivian Continued to Steal Secrets, Staff After Tesla Lawsuit

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【Summary】Despite Tesla filing a lawsuit against Rivian in 2020, Tesla claims the automaker continued to steal trade secrets by poaching new recruits.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Nov 14, 2021 5:00 AM PT
Report: Rivian Continued to Steal Secrets, Staff After Tesla Lawsuit

Rivian shocked the automotive industry by being the first to market with an all-electric pickup truck. The R1T is a shocking electric vehicle and the fact that Rivian beat Tesla, Ford, and General Motors is even more impressive. Unfortunately, Rivian's electric truck launch has been mired by a large issue: Tesla's lawsuit against Rivian. 

Tesla Claims Rivian Continued To Steal Secrets

According to a report by Business Insider, citing Bloomberg, Tesla has added new accusations to its lawsuit against Rivian. Originally, Tesla filed a lawsuit against Rivian in July 2020, claiming the electric automaker stole confidential trade secrets via employees that used to work at Tesla. In a new filing last month, Tesla doubled down on its accusations, stating that Rivian has continued to poach its employees and has stolen "highly proprietary" battery technology since the original suit was filed roughly 14 months ago. 

"Now apparently under pressure from investors after nearly a dozen years without producing a single commercial vehicle, Rivian has intensified its unlawful efforts," says Tesla in its new filing. 

Tesla's original lawsuit against Rivian accuses the startup and four of its employees of "misappropriating the trade secrets that violate the former employes' non-disclosure agreements." 

"Rivian instructed one recently departing Tesla employee about the types of Tesla confidential information that Rivian needs," Tesla's complaint alleges. "Both Rivian and the employee knew full well that taking such information would violate the employee's non-disclosure obligations to Tesla. Nonetheless, the employee expropriated for Rivian the exact information Rivian sought — highly sensitive, trade secret information that would give Rivian huge competitive advantage." 

Lawsuit Could Drag Out

Tesla claims that it caught the culprits "using recently acquired sophisticated electronic security monitoring tools." Going forward, it expects more of Rivian's employees to be named in the suit. In total, Tesla claims that 178 of its former employees have joined Rivian. At the time of writing, the suit only names Rivian and four specific employees at the company. 

Rivian did not provide any comments on the allegations, but stated that Tesla's claims are unsupported by facts. The startup said that the alleged actions are "counter to Rivian's culture, ethos and corporate policies," in a statement to Bloomberg. 

This isn't the first time Tesla has filed a lawsuit against a competitor. Previously, the electric automaker filed lawsuits against China's Xpeng Motors and self-driving car startup Zoox. 

As the outlet points out, Rivian closed another major funding round of $2.5 billion from backers. One of Rivian's major backers from the start has been Amazon. The company plans to use Rivian's delivery vans as the primary vehicles in its fleet. So far, Rivian has raised a total of $6 billion. 

Rivian plans to enter the EV scene with two electric cars: the R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV. The company is also working on an electric delivery truck for Amazon. The tech company has contracted Rivian to produce 100,000 electric delivery vans by 2030. The first 10,000 units should hit the road by the end of next year. 

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