Tesla has decided to sue a former employee. The manufacturer accuses him of stealing confidential data relating to his supercomputer project.
The risk when you are one of the most innovative companies on the Tech market like Tesla is to be the target of industrial espionage, from the outside as from the inside. As we learn from our colleagues from Bloomberg, the world number one in electric cars has just brought a lawsuit against a former employee.
The company accuses him in particular of having stole confidential data relating to his supercomputer project. This thermal engineer, who is no longer part of the ranks of Tesla, would have transferred these documents to his personal computer. After being laid off as early as April 6, 2022, the company asked Mr. Yatsov to return this PC to recover the allegedly stolen information. According to Tesla, the engineer brought a “dummy laptop” which was configured to make it look like it had only accessed unclassified information.
Tesla sues ex-engineer for theft and tampering with resume
According to Tesla’s filing with the San Jose District Court, Alexander Yatsov resigned on May 2 after joining the company a few months earlier, in January 2022. a clear breach of a non-disclosure agreement intended to protect Tesla’s trade secrets, the automaker also accuses Mr. Yatsov of having lied about his real experience and skills in his CV.
“This is a case of wrongful withholding of trade secrets by an employee who, during his short time at Tesla, has already demonstrated a habit of lying and then lying again by providing a device “dummy” to try to cover his tracks”, Tesla wrote in the court filing.
As Tesla clarified, Mr. Yatsov was recruited to work on the cooling system of the DOJO project, the company’s supercomputer which is to be used in particular to train its neural networks to improve Autopilot and autonomous driving. As part of this lawsuit, Tesla is claiming “compensatory and exemplary damages and an order that would restrain Yatskov from releasing his trade secrets and order him to return all of our data.”
As a reminder, this is not the first time Tesla has fired or sued former employees. Tesla fired an employee in early March who was testing self-driving videos on YouTube. In April, Tesla was forced to lay off several employees who took part in a large operation to contain stolen MacBooks from company sites.