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Tesla sues former employee for stealing software code

Story Highlights
  • According to a legal filing on Friday, Tesla is suing a former employee and software engineer named Alex Khatilov alleging trade secret theft and breach of contract.
  • This is one of a string of suits Tesla has filed against former employees alleging trade theft, some still ongoing.
  • The complaint filed by Tesla says the ex-employee uploaded code used in the company’s backend software system, WARP drive, to manage a wide range of business processes.

Tesla is suing a former employee and software engineer named Alex Khatilov for theft of trade secrets and breach of contract. In the complaint, K Hatilova alleges that it stole code and files from a back-end software system developed by Tesla to automate business processes related to the manufacture and sale of its cars. He is also accused of destroying potential evidence when confronted by the security team.

The complaint states that he started working at Tesla on December 28, 2020 and almost immediately began uploading files and scripts in a programming language called Python. Khatilov was hired to help Tesla’s quality team develop software that could automate tasks and business processes related to the environment, health and safety. The code was important for Tesla because it could show the system to competitors. Tesla considered it important and valuable to automate and how it automated and provided a roadmap for copying its innovations, “the complaint says. On January 6, Tesla confronted him about the alleged theft

It’s not the first time Tesla has sued or accused an ex-employee of trading. In late 2018, Tesla sued Cao for copying the autopilot source code from his personal account and device.

The company also said it had worked on developing the code in question for an estimated 200 years. In the new complaint, Tesla revealed on Friday that Khatilov, who was hired to the quality assurance team, had worked on the project. The company has also sued Cao’s former employer, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, for alleged intellectual property theft, but the case is ongoing.

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CNBC
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