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Recently, a case has been filed in the district courts of U.S. with the name “Tesla v. Khatilov, 21-cv-00528, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose)” where it was reported that a former Tesla Inc. software engineer named Alex Khatilov was ordered to appear before a judge of U.S. district court. The company put the allegations on him that he started stealing several confidential files and later transferred them to his own personal storage account during the initial three days into his job. He was employed for two weeks which was ending on January 6. Alex Khatilov stole approximately more than 6,000 scripts or files of code which were capable to automate a broad range of business functions. Thus, Tesla filed a trade-secret theft complaint against him which resulted in the mentioned suit.
However, Tesla managed in convincing U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers that there was a necessity of passing an order in favour of the company Tesla as the threat posed was of very serious nature. Thus, she granted a restraining order where she directed Khatilov to immediately preserve and return all files, records and emails which he was having to the company. He was also directed to appear remotely before her on February 4.
Makers of Elon Musk’s electric-car have also aggressively pursued lawsuits against other former employees and many rival companies. The company alleged that rival companies were poaching engineers to steal their proprietary data.
A software automation engineer named Khatilov was hired as one of those who were selected to have access to the files but the company alleged that files which were traced in his personal account were unrelated to his job. Tesla says, “We had to sue Khatilov because he lied about his theft and tried to even delete the evidence in this regard.”
Khatilov said in an interview, “I was surprised and shocked by Tesla’s lawsuit. I was hired on Dec. 28; Tesla sent him a file containing information for new hires. I transferred it to my personal Dropbox cloud account to use later on my personal computer.” “Nobody told me using Dropbox is prohibited. I don’t know why they claim its sensitive information; I didn’t have access to any sensitive information. Companies wanting to maintain protection over files normally block their improper installation,” he further added.
Khatilov claimed in his rescue that he showed Tesla after some days the information in his Dropbox when security asked him so and even deleted all the data on the request of the company. But, a few hours later he was informed by Tesla that the company fired him.
Tesla further alleged that when investigators found thousands of confidential files in the personal storage of Khatilov then the engineer simply tried to save him by saying that he forgot about them and later when he remembered about them, he tried to destroy the data as soon as possible. Tesla is not aware of the fact whether he previously copied the files or sent the files to some other locations as well. Although, Khatilov tried to win the trust of the court and the company by saying that he neither sent them to anyone or anywhere nor he had any sort of intentions of committing inside trading or trade secret theft.
“The scripts are extremely valuable to Tesla, and they would be to a competitor,” the company claimed in the lawsuit. “Access to these scripts would enable engineers at other companies to reverse engineer Tesla’s processes to create a similar system in a fraction of the time and with a fraction of the expense.”