Docket Number: 17-cv-305646
Case Filing Date: April 19, 2017
Jurisdiction: State Court
Court Name: County of Santa Clara, Superior Court of the State of California
In Jaunary 2017, Tesla Motors, Inc. (“Tesla”) filed a breach of contract lawsuit against former employee Sterling Anderson, former chief of the company’s Autopilot Program, and Chris Urmson, former CTO of Alphabet Inc.’s self-driving technology. Tesla alleged that Anderson and Urmson attempted to recruit multiple Tesla engineers to their new company, Aurora, and for allegedly stole “hundreds of gigabytes” of confidential Tesla information.
Anderson’s and Urmsons’s goal for Aurora is to develop driverless cars and improve safety for self-driving technology. Tesla claimed in the suit that Anderson violated his employment contract and breached a duty of loyalty to Tesla by recruiting Tesla engineers and using company information to form Aurora.
On April 19, 2017, the parties settled the lawsuit when Tesla agreed to withdraw its suit without damages, attorneys’ fees, or any finding of wrongdoing. Aurora agreed to reimburse Tesla for future ongoing audits conducted to establish that Aurora did not in fact misappropriate Tesla’s trade secrets. Aurora also agreed to pay Tesla $100,000. As per the settlement, Anderson’s contractual obligations to Tesla will remain intact and will also extend to Aurora.
The case is Tesla Motors Inc. v. Anderson et al., case number 17-CV-305646, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara.
Plaintiff(s): Tesla Motors Inc.
Defendant(s): Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson
Legal Basis for Trade Secret Claims: Other state statute