California based-automakers, Tesla and Rivian, hit a couple of speed bumps last year when Tesla filed a lawsuit against the new startup claiming they stole trade secret as well as hiring several a ex-Tesla employees. Employees that Tesla claims revealed important secret information that the automaker could integrate into upcoming R1T electric pickup truck as well as future EVs.
Shortly after Tesla filed its lawsuit against the startup, Rivian shot right back at the EV giant filing its own lawsuit against Tesla for damaging its reputation. However, new reports reveal that the Judge has taken the side of Tesla as they have ruled in favor of the EV giant, giving them the go ahead to move forward with the lawsuit, as well as claims against some of the former Tesla employees.
Elon Musk has been noted saying in the past that he is willing and ready to share Tesla’s tech, platform, patents, and even Supercharger network with other automakers. However, there is a huge difference between that and using secret information without a set partnership or licensing agreement.
Former employees providing proprietary information from a previous employer is a big no no. Even if Tesla is willing to “share,” details of this agreement (if there are any) have not been finalized, or at least haven’t been made public.
A new report from Automotive News revealed the judges ruling: “In a tentative ruling Monday, Santa Clara, Calif., Superior Court Judge William Monahan declined Rivian’s request to throw out a misappropriation of trade secrets claim. Monahan agreed to dismiss Rivian’s intentional interference in contract claim, saying the trade secrets part covered that.”
Rivian has hired at least 178 former Tesla employees, according to the EV giant itself. Tesla has apparently made claims against 7 of the 178 former employees, which the judge declined to dismiss.