Uber and Google are not the only two that can steal the intellectual property headlines. A recent settlement in a breach of contract lawsuit between Tesla and the maker of their autopilot feature on their cars briefly made people forget about the epic lawsuit between the two giants of the tech industry.
Sterling Anderson was the former director of the Autopilot program for Tesla’s series of electric vehicles. However, it turned out that Anderson joined with the former head of Google’s self-driving car program to start a new self-driving vehicle company. Tesla filed a lawsuit claiming that this breached the contract that they signed with Anderson. The lawsuit was recently settled.
There are a couple of things to take away from this story. The first is specific to the tech sector, and that is that there is incredible movement between companies in that industry. Employees move quickly, and they take with them a wealth of information. This information isn’t supposed to spread, especially if it is secret or legally protected — and yet it certainly seems to be a phenomenon that critical info spreads from company to company.
The other thing to recognize here is protecting your business’s interests, no matter how small or big the issue may be in a relative sense, is imperative to success in the business world. You should always be looking at for yourself, and sometimes it takes experienced legal counsel to ensure that happens.
Source: Bloomberg Technology, “Tesla Settles Suit Against Ex-Autopilot Head and His Startup,” Dana Hull and David Welch, April 17, 2017