Tesla is suing ex-engineer Alexander Yatskov for allegedly stealing its supercomputer technology, Project Dojo’s “confidential and tightly guarded” information, reports Bloomberg. According to a copy of the lawsuit, Tesla accuses Yatskov of downloading the data related to the project to his personal devices and refusing to return it.
Yatskov, whom Tesla alleges misrepresented on his résumé about his job background and skill level, began working at the electric car manufacturer in January as a thermal engineer and assisted with the design of Dojo’s cooling systems. Dojo is Tesla’s neural net training computer, which analyses massive volumes of data in order to train the AI software in Tesla’s self-driving cars. According to the complaint, Yatskov had access to Dojo’s cooling information as well as other project-related private information.
Tesla claims that all engineers sign a non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from revealing or keeping secret information about Dojo. Tesla claims Yatskov violated the agreement by allegedly “removing Tesla confidential information from work devices and accounts, accessing it on his own personal devices, and creating Tesla documents containing confidential Project Dojo details on a personal computer.” (Via The Verge) The business also claims that Yatskov was forwarding emails containing sensitive Tesla information from his work email address to his personal email.
Also according to the lawsuit, when Tesla questioned Yatskov about the situation, he acknowledged to keeping confidential information about supercomputer technology on his personal devices. Yatskov was subsequently placed on administrative leave beginning April 6th, 2022, and told to bring in his gadgets so Tesla could retrieve any stolen data. Yatskov allegedly countered by giving Tesla a “dummy” laptop in an attempt to hide any evidence against him. This purported counterfeit included none of the relevant material and was designed to “look like it may have accessed only inoffensive Tesla information, like an offer letter.”
Reportedly Yatskov resigned from his job on May 2nd. However, Tesla is suing him for compensatory and exemplary damages made to the business. Moreover, Tesla is seeking a court order compelling Yatskov to hand up the secret information of its supercomputer technology dubbed Project Dojo.