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Tesla says in a lawsuit that electric vehicle startup Rivian poached employees and stole confidential information.
The suit says Rivian’s team includes 178 ex-Tesla employees, 70 of whom came directly from Tesla. Tesla says in the suit that four former Tesla employees are responsible for taking confidential information to Rivian – Tami Pascale, Kim Wong, Jessica Siron and Carrington Bradley.
“Rivian is knowingly encouraging the misappropriation of Tesla’s trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information by Tesla employees that Rivian hires,” the suit says.
Rivian announced earlier this month that it has closed a massive $2.5 billion round of funding led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates. The company has raised nearly $6 billion, including strategic capital from companies like Ford, Amazon, and Cox Automotive in 2019.
Rivian is set to start production next year on its all-electric R1T pickup and R1S sport utility vehicle. The company is also developing an electric delivery van for Amazon utilizing Rivian’s skateboard platform. A total of 100,000 vans were ordered with the first deliveries expected next year.
Tesla has previously sued former employees, alleging they took trade secrets to China’s Xpeng Motors and Silicon Valley-based Zoox Inc. Tesla also filed a suit in 2017 against a former employee it said took self-driving tech secrets to co-found autonomous driving start-up Aurora. Aurora later settled.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Rivian said the lawsuit is baseless and “counter to Rivian’s culture, ethos and corporate policies.”