Let the court battle begin.
It's not unusual to see an automaker sue a competitor, but when it does happen, the situation makes plenty of headlines. This time it's no different.
According to Bloomberg, Tesla has accused electric vehicle rival Rivian of stealing both its employees and highly sensitive trade secrets. Rivian, of course, has denied the allegations. Tesla claims Rivian poached four former employees who also took with them sensitive proprietary information. Tesla suspects at least two additional former workers have done the same. The lawsuit specifically claims Rivian has so far hired 178 ex-Tesla employees, of which 70 came to Rivian directly from Tesla.
Rivian has called the claims baseless and "counter to [its] culture, ethos and corporate policies."
Furthermore, Rivian says that it requires all new employees to clarify "that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers' intellectual property into Rivian systems."
Tesla believes otherwise, stating in its suit the following: "Misappropriating Tesla's competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky," according to the complaint filed in state court in San Jose, California. "One would engage in that behavior only for an important benefit -- to use it to serve the competitive interests of a new employer."
Tesla has sued former employees in the past for allegedly taking with them trade secrets to other companies, not necessarily rival automakers. Examples include China's Xpeng Motors and Zoox, an autonomous vehicle company based in Silicon Valley.
Rivian, of course, has been in the news lately again, although in a far more positive light. Earlier this month, it took in another $2.5 billion in financing bringing the total to nearly $6 billion. It previously signed agreements with Ford and Amazon worth $500 million and $700 million, respectively.
The Rivian R1T pickup truck, built on the company's in-house-developed "skateboard" platform is supposedly set to go on sale by the end of this year with a starting price of around $70,000. The Rivian R1S SUV is slated to launch in the middle of next year.
So, what happens next? An army of lawyers is most certainly involved and Rivian will no doubt fight to get the case dismissed.