Tesla's NDA Lawsuit Against Employees Who Left to Rivian Goes to Court

Tesla's NDA Lawsuit Against Employees Who Left to Rivian Goes to Court

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Tesla's lawsuit against employees who left for Rivian and violated the NDA is going to court. The judge tentatively denied the employees’ request for a summary adjudication ruling.

Nearly a dozen former Tesla employees who went to work at Rivian cannot escape lawsuits for violating Tesla's confidentiality agreements before they joined its rival, Bloomberg reports. A state court judge on Wednesday tentatively denied the employees’ request for a summary adjudication ruling. If the request were granted, it would dismiss Tesla's claim that the employees had signed agreements and other contracts preventing them from stealing confidential information and disclosing it to competitors. The judge granted the employees’ request for a ruling on another claim by Tesla that the workers illegally accessed the company’s computers to copy and steal data.

*Summary adjudication is a pre-trial procedural device that allows a court to determine the merits of a particular cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, and/or an issue of duty.

The lawsuit concerns breaches of contract by some former Tesla employees who defected to Rivian. In its lawsuit, filed in July 2020 and revised in 2021, Tesla alleged that Rivian directly hired at least 70 of its former employees, some of whom were caught red-handed stealing core technology for next-generation batteries.

In a 2020 lawsuit, Tesla clarified that it had no issue with Rivian hiring its former employees, but draws the line when former staff break their NDAs and transfer sensitive trade secrets via their personal emails. It also claims that its former employees would search for new hires from Tesla's current working staff to poach for Rivian.

In 2021, in a tentative ruling, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge William Monahan declined Rivian's request to throw out the misappropriation of trade secrets claim. Monahan agreed to dismiss Rivian's intentional interference in a contract claim, saying the trade secrets part covered that. The judge also declined to dismiss Tesla’s claims against seven of its former employees, all of whom the company accused of divulging trade secrets when they went to work for Rivian.

© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.


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Article edited by @SmokeyShorts; follow him on Twitter

About the Author

Eva Fox

Eva Fox

Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.

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