Tesla is suing the former head of the Autopilot division because of a violation of trade secrets
Tesla Motors has sued its former head of the Autopilot system development department, Sterling Anderson. The plaintiff accuses the defendant of having lured Tesla employees into his own company. The fact is that the ex-manager of Tesla Motors quit organizing his own company about the development of autopilot systems for cars. Moreover, he broke the contract with his employer, since he began to use developments that represent Tesla's trade secret.
Together with his partner, ex-head of Google’s rosmobiles unit, Chris Urmson, he began to poach Tesla into his new company. The company was named Aurora. According to Tesla, Anderson downloaded hundreds of gigabytes of private data from his work computer to his personal storage device. After that, he performed a series of steps that allowed him to hide the fact of data theft and take the information out of the enterprise.
Anderson also erased all the data from his iPhone, issued by Tesla, in order to erase any evidence of beckoning to his side of the employees of the manufacturer of electric vehicles. These attempts, according to the respondent, were not very successful. Nevertheless, he still managed to lure two employees.
Tesla company plans to recover from the defendant funds for the damage, which means both direct and indirect damages. In addition, Tesla claims that it suffered damage as a result of theft of classified information, which belongs exclusively to the company and to anyone else.
Representatives of Aurora do not consider themselves guilty. The response statement, in particular, states the following: “Tesla's statement testifies to paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition. This is a violation of the justice system and an attempt to use a judicial mechanism to destroy the reputation of a competitor and his company. Aurora hopes to refute these false accusations in court, and build a successful autopilot business. ”
Companies that develop such systems, is becoming more and more. The fact is that automakers, voluntarily or unwittingly created a rapidly expanding market for equipment and autopilot systems. And now companies consisting of several developers who were able to show a working version of their product can be bought for tens of millions of dollars. An example is Cruise Automation, a company with 40 employees, which was bought out last summer for $ 1 billion. In August 2016, Uber acquired Otto, another startup that appeared 7 months before the date of purchase. The transaction value was $ 680 million.
There are other projects. For example, in December 2015, hacker George Hots assembled an unmanned vehicle in the garage, and alone. Those who have tested the development in the field, recognize that all this works no worse than that of Tesla. The automatic piloting system of Hots works on the basis of a trained neural network, where data is supplied by inexpensive video cameras and lidar. All this is processed using GPU and powerful Intel processors, which form the basis of the computing unit of the system. Venture funds invested
in Hotsa almost immediately . Only one of them offered $ 3.1 million. With these funds, Hots founded his own company, Comma.ai, and even presented a working product, but regulators from the United States prevented him from saying that the system should be thoroughly verified and tested. Officialsbegan to threaten with millions of fines, if the development will be released to the market, so Hoz chose to open the code of his autopilot and declare that there will be no sales. Now he declares that he is engaged exclusively in scientific developments, and commerce does not interest him too much.
The lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court of California, Santa Clara County. In general, the situation is not very clear. Tesla Motors claims are clear, but the respondent believes that it is not his fault, and the company’s management came up with everything. The situation will be clarified already during the consideration of the case, which, however, may last indefinitely.