Tesla is suing yet another engineer for allegedly stealing company secrets. This situation could be far more serious than an earlier alleged inside theft because the engineer that is now in Tesla’s crosshairs – Alexander Yatskov – supposedly stole trade secrets related to its Dojo supercomputer project.
Dojo is Tesla's supercomputer that is designed to process large amounts of data necessary to instruct the artificial intelligence software in Tesla’s self-driving vehicles.
Bloomberg News reports that Yatskov also had access to other sensitive information related to the project – information that he reportedly downloaded to his personal devices and refused to give back to Tesla when the company asked him to.
Tesla claims that Yatskov brought in a completely different laptop than the one he downloaded the information to when the company asked him to come in for a face-to-face meeting about the situation. The company said Yatskov wanted it to appear like he retrieved "inoffensive Tesla information, like an offer letter” and not Dojo-related trade secrets.
The engineer "lied" about his qualifications
In what’s sure to raise questions in the H.R. department, Yatskov has reportedly only been working at Tesla as a thermal engineer since January, qualifications that Tesla now claims he lied about.
“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,” Tesla noted in its lawsuit.
Additionally, Tesla says Yatskov also sent emails from his personal email address to his Tesla email account that contained classified Tesla information.
Yatskov is out of a job for the time being, but he still refuses to cooperate. In the lawsuit, Tesla is asking the court to award “compensatory and exemplary damages and an order that would stop Yatskov from disseminating its trade secrets and direct him to return all proprietary data.”