Tesla Sues Former Supplier For EV Battery Secrets Theft

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According to the lawsuit, Matthews, located in Pittsburgh, started providing manufacturing equipment to Tesla in 2019. Tesla disclosed to Matthews proprietary information about dry-electrode coating technology, which the automaker claims can significantly decrease the size and cost of battery manufacturing plants. Additionally, this technology is said to lower energy use and production time while increasing the power and energy density of the battery cells.

Tesla has initiated a lawsuit against its former supplier, Matthews International, in the Federal Court of the Northern District of California, accusing the company of misappropriating trade secrets related to Tesla’s battery production and disseminating them to its rivals.

Filed last Friday, the complaint alleges that Matthews owes damages “conservatively estimated to exceed USD 1 billion” for exploiting proprietary technology linked to dry electrode battery manufacturing. As of Monday, representatives for both Matthews and Tesla, including their legal teams, had not yet responded to inquiries for comments.

The legal filing details that Matthews, based in Pittsburgh, started providing manufacturing equipment to Tesla in 2019. Tesla contends that it disclosed confidential techniques concerning dry-electrode coating to Matthews. This technology, according to Tesla, could significantly decrease the footprint and costs of battery production facilities, reduce energy use and production times, and enhance the battery cells’ power and energy density.

The lawsuit accuses Matthews of selling equipment and technologies that incorporate Tesla’s trade secrets to unnamed competitors and of filing patents that claim Tesla’s inventions as its own, thereby exposing confidential information. Tesla has requested the court to prevent Matthews from further misuse of its trade secrets, to surrender its patent filings, and to compensate Tesla with monetary damages.

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