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Tesla Settles Lawsuit Against Former Autopilot Program Director Accused of Stealing Info, Engineers (electrek.co) 40

Earlier this year, Tesla filed a lawsuit against its former director of Autopilot Programs, Sterling Anderson, for stealing proprietary information about the Autopilot program and recruiting fellow Tesla engineers to work with him at Aurora Innovation, another autonomous driving company. According to Electrek, "the lawsuit was settled today with Tesla withdrawing their allegations without damages and Aurora agreeing to make itself available for an audit by a third-party to make sure they don't have proprietary information from Tesla's Autopilot program." From the report: Aurora also agreed to cover the cost of the audit for up to $100,000. The startup claims that it had already ordered its own audit, which found âoeno material Tesla confidential information." As for the allegations of poaching employees, Aurora has agreed not to reach out to Tesla employees for a year and to release the names of former Tesla employees who have joined the startup already. You can read Auroraâ(TM)s statement about the settlement in full here and Teslaâ(TM)s further down below: âoeSelf-driving vehicles will save lives, preserve resources, and make transportation more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Aurora was founded on the premise that experience, innovative thinking, hard work, and a commitment to doing the right thing can accelerate this future..."
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Tesla Settles Lawsuit Against Former Autopilot Program Director Accused of Stealing Info, Engineers

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  • by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @05:54PM (#54266221) Journal

    When did it become illegal to recruit from a competing company? Did they have some sort of non-poaching agreement? TFA doesn't mention any such thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought non-poaching agreements were found to be against the law [cnet.com].

      • I thought non-poaching agreements were found to be against the law [cnet.com].

        Such agreements between two companies are generally not legal, but no-compete clauses or similar wording in employment contracts that limits and employee from taking talent with them if they leave are not necessarily covered by that same ruling.

        • But Tesla is in CA, where non-compete agreements are largely void.

          • One of the few things CA has gotten right.

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            But Tesla is in CA, where non-compete agreements are largely void.

            Key word: "largely".

            If you're a low-level worker, they're basically void - non-competes and non-poaching clauses don't apply.

            Non-competes and no-poaching clauses are valid for high-ranking executives though, where it's assumed they are generally intelligent enough to have their own lawyers review and revise contracts and generally have the power on the employment relationship. Plus, the compensation is generally structured around those clause

            • Non-competes and no-poaching clauses are valid for high-ranking executives though,

              This is not true. Unlike other states, California has a bright-line rule on non-competes. There are some exceptions, but they concern business owners or partners. Also, as of January 1, any disputes concerning non-competes must be litigated in California courts.

        • ...if I am or was a Tesla employee I can sue Tesla for entering into an agreement which limits my opportunities for employment by other companies and therefore puts downward pressure on my potential salary?

  • The startup claims that it had already ordered its own audit, which found âoeno material Tesla confidential information."

    It's a good thing that understand the results doesn't hinge on that one word because that would be embarrassing. ;)

  • "Autopilot" (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday April 19, 2017 @06:24PM (#54266393) Journal

    When I hear "autopilot", I can't get those Airplane! scenes out of my head.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Surely you can't be serious?

      • Surely you can't be serious?

        Shirley that joke doesn't quite as well when writt...the hospital! What is it?

        • Ladies and gentleman, this is your stewardess speaking. We regret any inconvenience the sudden cabin movement might have caused. This is due to periodic air pockets we encountered. There's no reason to become alarmed and we hope you enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

    • Roger, Roger! Can I get a vector, Victor? I picked a bad day to quit posting AC.
  • I know that self-driving cars will bring better fuel economy, but I imagine that 1) people will be willing to commute much further distances to work once cars drive themselves, 2) many transit users (bus, train) will go back to single-occupancy cars once traffic jams go away and cars drive and park themselves, and 3) cars will just drive themselves around the block waiting for their owners to return from shopping/lunch/work, to avoid parking fees and hastle.

    This all means MORE resources consumed because of

    • That isn't really how I see it ending up.

      I think it is more likely that people will lease access to a self drive network of vehicles. These vehicles would be centrally maintained and their locations and pathing would be planned in such a way that you never had more than a couple of minutes wait time for one to pull up.

      Currently cars spend most of their time stationary. If you can increase their utilization then you would have massive efficiency gains.

      Special cases like baby seats and the like will have to

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Self driving fleets are a long way off thanks to the idiocy of the various professionally paranoid spy vs spy cults around the world, seeking to hack them and drive people, whom they consider deplorables, right off cliffs, into trains, head ones with buses and trucks or accelerating and looking for a large tree. Take your typical US president, any one will do, from over the last couple of decades, how many of them would kill their those opposed to them if they could get away with it. Make no mistake, the se

  • by Orangedog_on_crack ( 544931 ) on Thursday April 20, 2017 @10:15AM (#54269431)
    No one seemed to have a problem back when Jobs poached several Xerox PARC engineers to recreate the tech he couldnt get the company to give him unrestricted access to everything he wanted for the Lisa and Macintosh products. Of course if crap like the DMCA were around in the 1970s Gates, Allen and Jobs would probably have died in prison and Ed Roberts and Gary Kildall would be billionaires.

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