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Tesla sues former employee for allegedly stealing software

Tesla sues former employee for allegedly stealing software


The company says the software engineer moved company files to his personal Dropbox

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla is suing a former employee for allegedly stealing company information, CNBC reported. The company says software engineer Alex Khatilov stole files from Tesla’s internal network related to its Warp Drive software, used to automated many of the company’s business processes. Tesla alleges in the lawsuit that Khatilov moved files to his personal Dropbox account, and that he was one of only a few Tesla employees who had access to the files.

According to the lawsuit, Khatilov told Tesla investigators he “forgot” about moving the files to his personal Dropbox when they confronted him. He told the New York Post in an interview that he had unintentionally moved the files to Dropbox, and, had been unaware that Tesla had filed a lawsuit against him until the newspaper contacted him.

Tesla has not hesitated to sue in order to protect its proprietary data in the past; in December the company settled with former process technician Martin Tripp, who admitted to leaking confidential information to a reporter. In 2019 Tesla sued self-driving startup Zoox accusing four Zoox employees —who had previously worked at Tesla— of taking confidential documents. That case was settled last April, with Zoox admitting that “certain of its new hires from Tesla” were in possession of Tesla documents. And its case against Guangzhi Cao, who Tesla accuses of stealing files related to Tesla’s Autopilot system, is still ongoing.