Currently reading: Tesla takes Rivian to court over alleged stolen information
EV giant accuses start-up rival of using ex-Tesla employees to gain confidential trade information
Felix Page Autocar writer
News
2 mins read
24 July 2020

Tesla is attempting to sue its fledgling Rivian rival, claiming that the electric SUV producer has obtained “Tesla’s trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information” from recently recruited employees. 

In a complaint filed with the Superior Court of California, Tesla claims Rivian “recruits heavily from Tesla’s ranks” and "encourages" employees to bring with them confidential information that could give Rivian “a huge competitive advantage”. 

Both companies have operations centres in the San Jose region of California, and although Rivian has yet to bring its R1T and R1S electric SUVs to market, it is seen as a viable Tesla rival following substantial investment from third parties, including Ford, Amazon and various investment groups. 

Earlier this month, Rivian achieved a valuation of approximately $6 billion (£4.7bn), while at around the same time, Tesla was named the world’s most valuable car maker when its market value hit £165bn, exceeding that of Toyota.   

Tesla said, in its complaint, that “when done fairly”, recruiting its employees could be considered “legitimate competitive conduct” on Rivian’s part but alleged that Rivian encouraged a Tesla worker to violate their non-disclosure obligations by bringing confidential information to their new role at Rivian. 

Tesla claims to have knowledge of three additional ex-employees sharing information with Rivian, two of whom were questioned by Tesla’s ‘investigators’ but denied the claims. 

The objective of the lawsuit, Tesla claims, is to “remedy the misappropriation of its trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information”. The monetary amount of any damages claimed has not been publicised. 

Tesla has called for Rivian to face a jury trial.

Rivian strongly denies the claims made against it. In a statement to Bloomberg, it said all employees must confirm “that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers’ intellectual property into Rivian systems”.

It added: “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. This requires the contribution and know-how of thousands of employees from across the technology and automotive spaces.” 

Rivian’s R1T and R1S electric 4x4s are set to enter production in mid-2021, promising up to 400 miles of range, impressive on- and off-road performance and a raft of innovative storage solutions.

Last year, internet shopping giant Amazon ordered 100,000 electric vans from Rivian, the first of which will enter service next year.

Read more

"How I started my own car firm" - the story of Rivian

Amazon leads £544 million investment in EV start-up Rivian

Ford invests $500 million in EV company Rivian

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11

24 July 2020

are going to have to do a lot to keep hold of their engineers, another story today tells of ex Tesla engineers joining up with xxxxx and big automotive players investing in start up companies at arms length to get their hands on the Tesla/EV technology that they couldn't be bothered to research for themselves and took the easy way out. And what makes me laugh even more is that this particular company despite having no long term background in EVs has already come up with pie-in-the-sky ideas that are ill researched and sold as USP and as usual will leave the customer up ***t creek.

24 July 2020

 Surely it's the ex employee('s) who are guilty?, it would have to be proved that there was some evidence of tech like Tesla's?

wmb

24 July 2020
Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Surely it's the ex employee('s) who are guilty?, it would have to be proved that there was some evidence of tech like Tesla's?

...which would mean Rivian would have to rival their tech and demonstrate how it is not stolen tech from Tesla. Getting an early eye ball at the competitions hard and software, so as to know what Tesla will be up against, maybe? Look, even if they were, which I doubt, Tesla's dominance in the EV market will probably go on for the next 20 years, If not more! Barring some major disruptor in the industry (hydrogen fuel cells, anyone?), I don't think anyone will even come close to them for some time to come on the technology front. IMHO, the thing Tesla has to worry about is competitors getting close enough in the eyes of consumers, and the buying reasoning that the quality control, fit and finish, the plant and materials match better with automaker X, Y or Z, so I'm going to go with them! So what it comes down to is that Tesla's closest competition is themselves. The tech is where in needs to be and has been for some time, the end product is what has gained to attention of auto journalist. While that may not matter to the customer base at present, when other choices come to market that have 'good enough' tech, but featurebetter appointments and finishes, then things may change. Waiting until then for that to happen, would not be the the best move. One way or another, when competition is good, the consumer wins!    

24 July 2020
wmb wrote:

Peter Cavellini wrote:

 Surely it's the ex employee('s) who are guilty?, it would have to be proved that there was some evidence of tech like Tesla's?

...which would mean Rivian would have to rival their tech and demonstrate how it is not stolen tech from Tesla. Getting an early eye ball at the competitions hard and software, so as to know what Tesla will be up against, maybe? Look, even if they were, which I doubt, Tesla's dominance in the EV market will probably go on for the next 20 years, If not more! Barring some major disruptor in the industry (hydrogen fuel cells, anyone?), I don't think anyone will even come close to them for some time to come on the technology front. IMHO, the thing Tesla has to worry about is competitors getting close enough in the eyes of consumers, and the buying reasoning that the quality control, fit and finish, the plant and materials match better with automaker X, Y or Z, so I'm going to go with them! So what it comes down to is that Tesla's closest competition is themselves. The tech is where in needs to be and has been for some time, the end product is what has gained to attention of auto journalist. While that may not matter to the customer base at present, when other choices come to market that have 'good enough' tech, but featurebetter appointments and finishes, then things may change. Waiting until then for that to happen, would not be the the best move. One way or another, when competition is good, the consumer wins!    

Now this may be an obvious question, if Tesla are worth this much, how come there cars aren't getting cheaper?, is this £165billion in business terms not a lot of worth these days?

24 July 2020

Share price has nothing to do with real world worth. Tesla has become a cult stock moving up or down on every single morsel of good or bad news

 

24 July 2020

Unless Tesla can prove their ex-employees took documents, they don't have a case. Engineers can take with them whatever they can remember and hence experience has a value in the job market.Intellectual property is within the heads of employees and if your business has a secret, you must keep these employees, otherwise the secret is out! A way to manage this is a prolonged  'gardening leave', they remain an employee but paid to stay at home until the end of their notice period. Normal stuff, look after your employees!

24 July 2020

Rivian has been around since 2009, hardly "fledgling". A few years back didnt Tesla release tis patents for rivals to use to help get more electric cars on the market ? This seems alittle strange in the light of that.

24 July 2020

Tesla's stock jumped to a new record high on Wednesday, giving the electric vehicle maker a valuation of more than $208 billion, which means that it is now the most valuable car company on the planet.

24 July 2020

Here's a big part of why Tesla's stock is so high: hot money builds long positions, hyping the company and driving the price higher and higher until its market capitalisation is so high it needs to be included in the S&P 500, and once it's in, all the index funds have to buy the stock also, driving the price even higher, at which point the hot money dumps its position, bursting the bubble, and then they open the champagne.

24 July 2020

Ex Tesla engineer just joined Rimac, Musk said anything about that yet?

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