Tesla has filed a lawsuit against Alexander Yatskov, a recently hired engineer who Tesla claims stole trade secrets related to its Dojo supercomputer project.
It’s the latest in a series of lawsuits that Tesla has filed against former employees who have participated in stealing important information, according to the automaker.
In this case, first reported by Bloomberg, Yatskov was only recently hired by Tesla back in January.
He was hired as a thermal engineer, though now Tesla claims that he lied about his qualifications, and he was assigned to the Dojo project to work on a cooling system.
Project Dojo is a new supercomputer that Tesla is developing to help train its neural nets, which are primarily used in its self-driving effort.
Tesla claims that quickly after starting the job, Yatskov started downloading “confidential and tightly guarded” information related to the Dojo supercomputer project to his personal computer.
In the lawsuit, the company claims that Yatskov admitted to stealing the information when confronted about it. He was placed on administrative leave starting April 6, 2022, and asked to bring Tesla his personal laptop to recover the allegedly stolen information.
Tesla claims that the engineer brought the company a “dummy laptop” that was set up to make it look like he only accessed “inoffensive Tesla information, like an offer letter” and not trade secrets related to Dojo.
Yatskov ended up resigning from Tesla on May 2.
The company writes in the lawsuit:
This is a case about illicit retention of trade secrets by an employee who, in his short time at Tesla, already demonstrated a track record of lying and then lying again by providing a “dummy” device to try and cover his tracks.
As part of the lawsuitTesla is seeking “compensatory and exemplary damages and an order that would stop Yatskov from disseminating its trade secrets and direct him to return all proprietary data.”
It’s not the first time that Tesla is suing former employees over alleged stolen information.
Tesla is currently suing Rivian and former employees hired by the EV startup over allegedly stealing information related to its “next-gen battery.”
Previously, the company also sued a former employee who went to work at Xpeng after Tesla claimed that the engineer stole the Autopilot source code.
Finally, Tesla also won a lawsuit against self-driving startup Zoox for the theft of some proprietary information related to its logistics systems.
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