US electric car and energy company Tesla is suing former engineer Alexander Yatskov, accusing him of stealing "confidential" information about the company's supercomputer technology called Project Dojo, according to Bloomberg.
In a copy of the complaint, Tesla accused Yatskov of downloading information to his personal device and refusing to return it.
Tesla alleges that Yatskov, who began working at the electric car maker in January as a thermal engineer, helped design the Dojo's cooling system, by lying about his work history and skills on his resume.
"Dojo" is Tesla's neural network training computer that processes large amounts of data to train artificial intelligence software for Tesla's self-driving cars.
In other words, Dojo is a supercomputer built by Tesla, equipped with the 50 billion transistor D1 Dojo chip, to train its neural network algorithms and machine learning models in a faster and more efficient way. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the Dojo supercomputer will be the fastest supercomputer for artificial intelligence training.
According to the allegations, Yatskov obtained cooling information about Dojo, as well as other classified information related to the project.
Tesla said all engineers signed a nondisclosure agreement to prevent them from disclosing or storing confidential information about Dojo. But Yatskov violated this rule by allegedly "removing Tesla confidential information from work devices and accounts, accessing it on his own personal device, and creating a Tesla on his personal computer containing details of the confidential project Dojo. document."
The company also said it found that Yatskov sent Tesla's confidential information from his personal email address to his work email.
In a previous phone interview with the media, Yatskov said he was unaware of the lawsuit and declined to comment immediately. But in the complaint in the case, Tesla claimed that when the company confronted Yatskov, he had admitted to storing the company's confidential information on his personal device.
Starting April 6, 2022, Tesla has placed Yatskov on administrative leave and asked him to bring his equipment so the company can recover any stolen information.
Yatskov responded to the accusation by giving Tesla a "virtual" laptop in an attempt to hide any evidence against him. This "action" did not contain any questionable information, and "looks like it may have obtained only innocuous information about Tesla, such as an invitation letter."
At present, Yatskov, the former engineer suspected of stealing Tesla's confidential information, has resigned on May 2. Tesla is suing Yatskov for damages and exemplary damages, and is also seeking a court order to compel Yatskov to return classified information.
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