Tesla sues former employee for stealing company secrets about Project Dojo

The ex-thermal engineer is alleged to have copied these secrets onto his personal devices.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Tesla Service Center.jetcityimage/iStock

Tesla has launched a lawsuit against a former employee, who is accused by the firm of illegally acquiring company secrets about its AI supercomputer project by copying them onto his personal devices, according to a report by Bloomberg published on Saturday.

An ex-thermal engineer working on Project Dojo

Alexander Yatskov, the employee in question, is an ex-thermal engineer who was hired to work specifically on Project Dojo. He is accused of having handed a "dummy" laptop over to Tesla in order to hide his actions after being confronted about the theft.

Project Dojo is a supercomputer that Elon Musk has been discussing since 2019. For several years, Tesla has been teasing the introduction of its supercomputer, which Musk has hinted will be the world's fastest supercomputer, outperforming the current world leader, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer which runs at 415 petaflops.

Yatsko was hired in January to help design the supercomputer's cooling systems.

In addition to breaching a non-disclosure agreement by holding on to confidential information, Tesla said in a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court on Friday that Yatskov had lied about his experience and that he was "repeatedly unable" to complete the tasks he was assigned.

Sensitive information stolen

Yatskov was further accused of "creating Tesla documents" with sensitive information that is not public and never shared outside the company and sending them to his personal email address. This information, added Tesla, is extremely valuable to the firm and could be for its competitors as well.

"Access to the Tesla Trade Secrets would enable engineers at other companies to reverse engineer Tesla's Trade Secrets to create similar supercomputer thermal systems in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the expense it took Tesla to build it," the company said in its lawsuit.

Yatskov refused to comment to Bloomberg about the lawsuit claiming he wasn't even aware of it. 

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