Tesla Suit Alleges Its Former Autopilot Director Stole Company Secrets

Tesla has sued its former director of Autopilot Sterling Anderson, accusing him of stealing company information and trying to recruit Tesla employees.

The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this week at the Superior Court of California, claims that Anderson took confidential information from Tesla with the aim of using it for his own self-driving start-up, Aurora Innovation, which he started with the former head of Google’s self-driving car project, Chris Urmson. The electric automaker also alleges that Anderson started working on Aurora Innovation before leaving the company last December and trying to lure Tesla’s employees to join the startup.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Tesla is seeking a court order to prohibit Anderson, Urmson, and Aurora Innovation from enlisting its employees and contractors for one year after the former director departed from the electric automaker. Tesla also looks to block the use of its proprietary information in regard to self-driving systems and hardware. The electric automaker is seeking monetary, non-monetary, and punitive remedies with its lawsuit, as
well.

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Tesla hasn’t released a statement in regard to the lawsuit. Anderson, on the other hand, disputed the automaker’s claims in a statement made on the same day as the lawsuit was filed.

“Tesla’s meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition,” said Anderson. “This abuse of the legal system is a malicious attempt to stifle a competitor and destroy personal reputations. Aurora looks forward to disproving these false allegations in court and to building a successful self-driving business.”

Anderson began working for Tesla toward the end of 2014 as a senior product manager. He was promoted to his former position of director of Autopilot programs in 2015. Anderson left the electric automaker just as Chris Lattner, an engineer from Apple, was hired. At Apple, Lattner was credited with creating Swift, a programming language that was released in 2014.

This isn’t the first legal battle Tesla has been involved with and it is unlikely to be the last.

Bloomberg


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