Tesla sues former engineers for alleged theft of trade secrets, source code for self-driving cars

Tesla sues former engineers for alleged theft of trade secrets, source code for self-driving cars
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Tesla filed lawsuits on Thursday against several former employees accused of stealing company secrets surrounding Tesla's self-driving vehicle development.

Reuters reported that the company filed one lawsuit against Guangzhi Cao, an engineer who has been accused of copying as many as 300,000 documents containing source code for the company's Autopilot self-driving vehicle program prior to joining Xiaopeng Motors Technology Company Ltd., a Chinese self-driving car startup.

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Tesla also announced lawsuits Thursday against four former employees and a U.S. self-driving car startup, Zoox Inc., alleging that the former Tesla employees joined Zoox and brought the company stolen Tesla proprietary information and trade secrets.

Xiaopeng Motors counts major Chinese companies including Foxconn and Alibaba among its investors, according to Reuters . The company, along with the engineers named in the lawsuits, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

Tesla representatives did not immediately return a request for more information from The Hill.

Reuters reported that Tesla is opening a facility in Shanghai, China, which will put the company in direct competition with Xiaopeng, a major force in the Chinese auto industry.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by Tesla alleges that at least five former Tesla employees now work at Xiaopeng, but they have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Tesla underwent a round of cost-cutting layoffs earlier this year, with CEO Elon Musk telling employees at the time that about 7 percent of staffers would leave the company.