Tesla has filed a lawsuit against electric truck-making startup Rivian, accusing it of stealing trade secrets and poaching its employees.
“Rivian is knowingly encouraging the misappropriation of Tesla’s trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information by Tesla employees that Rivian hires,” the company said in a lawsuit.
The filing pointed to four former Tesla employees for allegedly taking confidential information with them to their new roles.
Tesla said in the past week it had discovered a “disturbing pattern of employees who are departing for Rivian surreptitiously stealing Tesla trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information — information that is especially useful for startup electric vehicle company.”
Tesla said approximately 180 of Rivian’s 2,300-strong workforce were former Tesla employees.
It added that Rivian is allegedly encouraging those thefts, “even though Rivian is well aware of Tesla employees’ confidentiality obligations”.
A Rivian spokesperson told CNBC: “This suit’s allegations are baseless and run counter to Rivian’s culture, ethos and corporate policies.”
It said it requires all employees to confirm that they will not introduce any technology from their former employers into Rivian’s systems.
Rivian made headlines earlier this month when it secured $2.5bn in fresh funding from T. Rowe Price and Amazon, among other investors.
Tesla has previously sued self-driving car startup Zoox on similar grounds, which was acquired by Amazon for $1bn last month. The two settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount.