Tesla (TSLA) has filed a lawsuit against its electric truck rival Rivian, claiming that the company poached its employees and stole trade secret information, Bloomberg was the first to report.
According to the electric carmaker’s suit, allegedly, four former employees took highly sensitive proprietary information when they left the company to work with Rivian, and Tesla claimed there may be at least two more employees that did the same, the news outlet said.
The complaint, which was filed in state court in San Jose, California, and obtained by Bloomberg, reads, “Misappropriating Tesla’s competitively useful confidential information when leaving Tesla for a new employer is obviously wrong and risky. One would engage in that behavior only for an important benefit – to use it to serve the competitive interests of a new employer.”
Electric truckmaker Rivian has denied the allegations against it, issuing a statement to Bloomberg, TechCrunch and others maintaining that it has not and will not “introduce former employers’ intellectual property into Rivian systems.
“Rivian is made up of high-performing, mission-driven teams, and our business model and technology are based on many years of engineering, design and strategy development,” the Rivian statement said. “This requires the contribution and know-how of thousands of employees from across the technology and automotive spaces.”
Tesla’s suit goes on to say that it is Rivian’s “number one target from which to acquire information, saying that the automaker has hired 178 former Telsa employees, of which about 70 came onboard directly from Elon Musk’s company.
Rivian is set to launch the R1T electric pickup truck, competing with Tesla’s Cybertruck. Rivian also plans to launch an electric SUV with the R1S. The company has raised $6 billion in funding led by corporate giants such as Amazon, Ford, and T. Rowe Price Associates, and has received an order from Amazon for 100,000 electric delivery vans.
Shares of Tesla were trading at $1,510 as of 1:47 p.m. ET, down $82.33 or 5.17%