Tesla vs Rivian Trade Secrets Case is Heading to Trial

Almost a dozen former Tesla employees who left to join Rivian are headed to trial, following a ruling over claims that they breached Tesla’s confidentiality agreements. The employees were accused of stealing proprietary information before joining Rivian.

In a tentative decision on Wednesday, a California Superior Court judge denied the employees’ request for summary adjudication, which would have dismissed Tesla’s claim that the employees had signed agreements forbidding them from taking proprietary information and disclosing it to competitors.

However, the judge granted the employees’ request for a ruling on another Tesla claim that the workers had illegally accessed Tesla’s computers to copy and steal data, reports Bloomberg.

If the ruling is finalized, the legal battle concerning the breach of contract and the violation of California’s trade secret laws will proceed to trial. This comes as a significant development in a lawsuit that Tesla filed against Rivian in July 2020 and revised in 2021.

In its suit, Tesla alleged that Rivian had directly hired at least 70 of its former employees, some of whom were “caught red-handed” stealing core technology related to next-generation batteries. This move, according to Tesla, was a breach of agreements and other contracts the employees had previously signed.

Rivian has firmly denied any wrongdoing in the case and has argued that Tesla’s lawsuit is merely an attempt to stifle competition in the booming electric-car market.

The case, formally known as Tesla Inc. v. Rivian Automotive Inc., 20CV368472, is ongoing in the California Superior Court in Santa Clara County. Legal analysts will continue to watch the case closely as it could set a precedent in trade secret litigation involving the increasingly competitive electric vehicle industry.