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Tesla accuses Rivian of stealing trade secrets in new lawsuit

The suit alleges former Tesla employees took sensitive information with them when they left to work for the EV startup.

Tesla Fremont factory
Rivian totally denies any of the allegations.

Tesla has served Michigan-based EV startup Rivian with a lawsuit that alleges the latter received trade secrets as it hired on a handful of former Tesla employees.

According to the lawsuit, first reported by Bloomberg on Thursday, Tesla suspects at least four employees left with sensitive information to benefit their new employer. The automaker also noted an "alarming pattern" of Rivian hiring Tesla employees with access to the sensitive info.

In a statement, Rivian denied the allegations, saying, "Upon joining Rivian, we require all employees to confirm that they have not, and will not, introduce former employers' intellectual property into Rivian systems. This suit's allegations are baseless and run counter to Rivian's culture, ethos and corporate policies."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Past reports noted Rivian's hiring of some notable figures who previously worked for Tesla, or moved directly from Tesla to Rivian. They include three people who all previously worked on Tesla's Supercharger network program. Rumor has it Rivian is keen to create a rival to the Supercharger network, possibly called the "Adventure Network." It reportedly won't be nearly as expansive.

Aside from a charging network, Rivian has also hired on individuals to oversee two other key areas. Recent job postings mentioned positions for a Rivian insurance program and a collision center network. As for Rivian's actual vehicles, the coronavirus pandemic delayed things. Both the R1T electric pickup and the R1S SUV were meant to begin deliveries this year, but now we'll see them in 2021. The firm also has a purpose-built electric van in the works for Amazon.

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