In a recent interview, Tesla CEO opened up about the latest lawsuit launched by his company against fellow electric carmaker Rivian, saying that the competing carmaker was “completely” poaching workers and stealing secrets.
Musk sat down for the final portion of a three-part interview with Jason Stein from Automotive News, who asked the CEO of the world’s largest automaker whether Rivian was recruiting workers at the firm and stealing intellectual property.
“Is Rivian poaching your employees as you have alleged in a lawsuit,” Stein asked Musk.
“Yeah, absolutely. Of course,” Musk quickly answered. “I mean it’s not like a massive percentage, but they’ve definitely taken a bunch of Tesla’s intellectual property.”
In late July, Tesla launched a complaint against Rivian, alleging that there had been an “alarming pattern” of stealing employees and flourishing secrets. The complaint alleges that Tesla’s former workers took highly classified information with them when they left Rivian to work for the electric automaker.
Tesla filed a complaint stating, “Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky.”
Musk says that the former Tesla employees stole information through thumb drives and personal computers and took the highly sensitive documents to Rivian. “It’s not cool to steal our IP, and for people to violate their confidentiality agreements…that kind of thing,” Musk said. “They’re doing bad things, so we sued them.”
Interestingly enough, researchers questioned several workers who quit Tesla for Rivian and at least one of them admitted taking secrets from the company while changing employers.
Tesla’s complaint notes that Tami Pascale, a former Tesla Senior Staffing Manager, “took at least ten confidential and proprietary documents from Tesla’s network, which would allow Rivian to poach Tesla’s highest-performing talent and promising employment prospects.”
Pascale also admitted to authorities that she confessed to taking personal and sensitive information about prospective employees at Tesla. She lied about having Tesla documents on a company laptop. As prosecutors “confronted her with specific documents she had taken, Pascale finally confessed to taking the confidential and proprietary documents,” the complaint states.
Musk has confirmed on multiple occasions that the company’s patents are available and free to use, especially if the drive toward sustainable transport is increased. But recruiting prospective Tesla employees and developmental talent is not part of the deal, which is why the company chose to take Rivian to court.
Musk has been transparent and honest in helping other manufacturers get battery and EV tech if they’re willing to move an electric fleet forward. Musk said in a tweet from late July, “Tesla is open to licensing software and supplying powertrains & batteries. We’re just trying to accelerate sustainable energy, not crush competitors!”
The complaint against Rivian in Tesla’s case can be found here.
Reported by Teslarati.
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