Tesla has initiated a lawsuit against an old employee, who is accused by the firm of illegally acquiring company secrets about its AI supercomputer project by transferring them onto his personal devices.
Alexander Yatskov is the name of the employee. He used to work as an ex-thermal engineer in the company. He was hired to work specifically on Project Dojo. He is accused of having handed a “dummy” laptop over to Tesla 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 talking about introducing its supercomputer, which Musk has hinted will be the world’s fastest supercomputer. He had claimed that this supercomputer would outperform the current world leader, Japan’s Fugaku supercomputer which executes 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 also filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court on Friday that Yatskov had lied about his experience and that he was “repeatedly unable” to carry through the tasks he was assigned.
Moreover, the employee was also 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 could be useful to the competitors.
“Access to the Tesla Trade Secrets would enable engineers at other companies to reverse engineer Tesla’s Trade Secrets to creating 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 has claimed that he wasn’t even aware of it.