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William Maley

Tesla Sues Ex-Autopilot Director Over Stealing Secrets

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There is no love lost between Tesla Motors and the former director of Autopilot. Bloomberg reports that the Silicon Valley automaker has sued Sterling Anderson over allegations of stealing confidential information about Autopilot and trying to recruit Tesla employees to his new venture.

In the court filing, Tesla says Anderson began work on an autonomous-car venture, Aurora Innovation LLC back in summer when he was head of the Autopilot project. As the director of Autopilot, Anderson would have access to Tesla's semi-autonomous tech. He would leave Tesla in December. Anderson has been collaborating with the former head of Google’s self-driving car project, Chris Urmson.

Tesla is seeking a court order barring Anderson from "any use of Tesla’s proprietary information related to autonomous driving." Tesla is also seeking an order banning Anderson and Aurora Innovation from recruiting Tesla employees and contractors for a year after Anderson’s termination date.

“Tesla’s meritless lawsuit reveals both a startling paranoia and an unhealthy fear of competition. 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,” Aurora Innovation LLC said in a statement yesterday.

Source: Bloomberg


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Every company now seems to do this as no one wants to have anyone else take their potential money.

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24 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Every company now seems to do this as no one wants to have anyone else take their potential money.

It's illegal to take information you learned and acquired through one company to use at another.

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3 hours ago, ccap41 said:

It's illegal to take information you learned and acquired through one company to use at another.

As a blanket statement like that, no it's not.  

However, lots of tech companies have a non-compete clause, they're probably going after him with this. He probably signed something.

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Pretty sure it's illegal to use information that you gained while working at a company.. I guess that's very blanket but it's confidential information that you only gained from working at said company. Not things like "how to use Microsoft Excel" but confidential information or researched information. 

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Any large company is going to have a statement in their employment agreement saying they have the right to sue you for it.... but a mom and pop shop? unlikely. 

It is not, by default, illegal.  That's why it's in employment agreements. 

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21 hours ago, ccap41 said:

It's illegal to take information you learned and acquired through one company to use at another.

There is nothing wrong with taking the knowledge one learns and applying it in a new and different way to make a better product. People do this all the time.

Yes if you sign a non compete clause and leave to a new company or start your own and just copy the work you did at the old place, you should get the law thrown at you.

We have brains and can rethink our knowledge in new and exciting ways and I believe many who learn new stuff, then think up better ways to do it leave to do just that, Prove they can create a better mouse trap that competes but is built totally different than the last place they worked.

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