employee allegedly stole trade secrets after hiring - tisla 4

Tesla has filed a lawsuit against a former employee who allegedly stole trade secrets very soon after being hired.

Tesla is playing big! Alex Khatilov was hired by the American firm, and in just three days, he “brazenly stole thousands of computer scripts of trade secrets” which took years to be developed, we learned from our American colleagues who attended part of the trial. The story begins on December 28, 2020 when Tesla hires Khatilov as a software automation engineer. Shortly after taking the job, Tesla said Khatilov started stealing thousands of highly confidential files from their internal network and uploaded them to his personal Dropbox account.

The company claims that the scripts “Automate a wide range of functions across the Tesla business” and that only a few people have access to it. Khatilov was one of them and Tesla says he used this access to download “Files unrelated to his work”. Tesla’s information security team discovered the downloads on January 6 and summoned Khatilov the same day. According to the company, Khatilov initially claimed to have “Transferred only some personal administrative documents” on their Dropbox account.

Investigation

When investigators asked to see his Dropbox account, Khatilov gave them access and the company found “Thousands upon thousands of confidential Tesla computer scripts”. Faced with this, Khatilov would have declared to have “forgotten” these files. The company also claims that the employee has “Brazenly attempted to destroy the evidence by hastily deleting items from his Dropbox at the start of the interview when investigators attempted to gain remote access to his computer.”

Tesla says he does not know if Khatilov took any additional files or if he made copies of the files he had put in his personal Drive. The company also doesn’t know if the files were sent to someone.

Following the investigation, Tesla filed a complaint against Khatilov for breach of contract as well as breach of professional secrecy. The company seeks to recover all its equipment and all its information as well as the identity of any person who has had access to its trade secrets.