Karma Automotive is accusing Lordstown Motors of poaching employees while the companies were working together as well as stealing intellectual property (via Business Journal Daily): “Karma Automotive LLC, based in Irvine, Calif., filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court Central District of California Oct. 30 that alleges Lordstown Motors deployed a “Trojan horse” scheme where it pretended to work with Karma on a proposed partnership while secretly planning to poach its employees and steal intellectual property.”
Karma and Lordstown were working together on the Lordstown Endurance pickup truck’s infotainment system. Now, Karma is accusing Lordstown of using the partnership as a “ruse” to illegally obtain their technology and poah employees
Lordstown Motors is denying all allegations: “Lordstown Motors, however, refutes Karma’s claims as “fantasy.” According to court documents filed in response to the lawsuit, the company couldn’t implement any of Karma’s alleged private information because of hardware differences, while employees left Karma because the ultra luxury carmaker was downsizing its engineering department, not because they were “poached.” And, Lordstown Motors said it declined to purchase Karma’s systems because the price “was far too high, not because the fictitious ‘scheme’ Karma has concocted,” court papers say.”
This of course is not the first lawsuit of its kind we’ve seen in the auto industry. Just a few months ago Rivian was hit with a lawsuit from Tesla for allegedly stealing trade secrets after Rivian hired several former Tesla employees. Before that Tesla filed a lawsuit against former employees working at Xpeng, claiming its Autopilot source code was stolen by said former employees. Now it looks like its Karma Automotive and Lordstown Motors turn to duke it out in court.