The lawsuits continue against EV startup Rivian. Though it hasn’t built any vehicles to date, the company has an aggressive plan to manufacture its “Tesla killer” vehicles at the former Diamond Star Motors plant at Normal, Illinois, and sell its wares directly to customers via nine showrooms across the nation. Various parties take issue with both the building and selling facets at Rivian, and the company has lawsuits with dealers in Illinois as well as Tesla.
Just yesterday we reported the company was being sued by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, which claims the state laws do not permit direct-to-consumer sales. Today, there’s news out of California about the other lawsuit against Rivian – the one where Tesla says the company stole its secrets.
Tesla started up the lawsuit in July of 2020 and claimed Rivian was “…knowingly encouraging the misappropriation of Tesla’s trade secret, confidential, and proprietary information by Tesla employees that Rivian hires.”
Tesla went on to claim in the suit that there was a pattern of employees leaving Tesla for Rivian and taking the aforementioned trade secret information with them. And it could be quite a bit of information, as in the lawsuit Tesla claimed that Rivian hired away 178 of its employees.
Rivian denied the allegations and continued to do so. The company says that Tesla only has a problem with Rivian because it knows Rivian is so threatening and wants to shut down any competition in the electric-car industry. Rivian motioned for a dismissal of the suit in the California Superior Court.
Today, judge William Monahan declined Rivian’s ask that the misappropriation of trade secrets claim be thrown out. In a win, the judge did dismiss Tesla’s “intentional interference in contract” claim and said the trade secrets claim covered that portion. Rivian also asked for dismissal of Tesla’s claims against seven former employees who now work for Rivian. The selected employees are the ones Tesla claims definitely disclosed trade secrets to Rivian after their departure. The judge declined Rivian’s request to dismiss.
It will take a while to reach the Summit of this legal action, as Galant lawyers on both sides have their Talons ready. Stay tuned.
[Image: Rivian, Tesla]