Tesla is suing a lately employed software program engineer who the corporate claims has stolen vital automated software program from its WARP Drive ERP system.

Tesla WARP Drive

Whereas most automakers use generally recognized enterprise software program from third events like SAP, Tesla as a substitute determined to construct its personal from scratch.

Tesla’s longtime chief info officer Jay Vijayan, who quietly left in January 2016, is credited for main the event of the system, which Tesla calls “Warp.”

Vijayan mentioned what pushed them to develop their “Warp” system in-house throughout an interview with CIO Insight in 2014:

Elon’s imaginative and prescient is to construct a vertically built-in group the place info move occurs seamlessly throughout departments and the place we’ve got a closed suggestions loop to our prospects. By doing this, we are able to present the absolute best product, service, and total expertise to our prospects within the quickest means potential, whereas additionally working effectively as a enterprise to carry this imaginative and prescient to life, we needed to have easy and central enterprise operations software program that might join all departments and allow info move seamlessly throughout departments. Once more, we couldn’t discover one software program program out there that happy this want.

Elon Musk has since pushed his corporations to develop much more new enterprise engineering programs for use throughout his a number of corporations.

For instance, we beforehand reported on Tesla and SpaceX sharing some custom software platform developed for materials research.

WARP englobes quite a lot of vital backend software program that automates many processes for Tesla from buying, to manufacturing to stock.

Somebody is attempting to steal Tesla’s software program

In a brand new case filed with the court docket of the Northern District of California, Tesla claims {that a} lately employed software program engineer, Alex Khatilov, has stolen its WARP Drive software program.

Tesla writes within the lawsuit:

“Tesla employed Defendant as a software program automation engineer on December 28, 2020. Inside three days, he started stealing 1000’s of extremely confidential software program information from Tesla’s safe inside community, transferring them to his private cloud storage account on Dropbox, to which Tesla has no entry or visibility. The information encompass “scripts” of proprietary software program code that Tesla has spent years of engineering time to construct. These scripts, when executed, automate a broad vary of features all through Tesla’s enterprise. Solely a choose few Tesla workers even have entry to those information; and as a member of that group, Defendant took benefit of that entry to downloaded information unrelated to his job.”

The automakers seems to have sturdy proof that Khatilov innapropriately downloaded the scripts.

Tesla’s infosec workforce gained entry to the engineer’s Dropbox account the place they discovered the information that don’t have any enterprise being there:

“Tesla’s info safety personnel detected Defendant’s unauthorized obtain on January 6, 2021 and confronted Defendant that day and interviewed him. Throughout this interview he repeatedly claimed that he had solely transferred a pair private administrative paperwork. After being prompted, he gave Tesla investigators entry to view his Dropbox account, the place they found Defendant’s claims have been outright lies: the Tesla investigators discovered 1000’s and 1000’s of Tesla’s confidential laptop scripts in his Dropbox. Defendant then claimed he by some means “forgot” in regards to the 1000’s of different information he stole (virtually definitely one other lie). Even worse, it turned obvious that Defendant had openly tried to destroy the proof by hurriedly deleting the Dropbox consumer and different information in the course of the starting of the interview when investigators have been trying to remotely entry his laptop.”

Tesla employs a workforce of High quality Assurance Engineers who assist establish enterprise duties to be automated primarily based on enter from Tesla’s enterprise leaders. The engineers write laptop scripts in Python (a pc programming language) to automate these duties, and check the automated processes to make sure they operate correctly. These scripts are distinctive to Tesla and run on WARP Drive, the backend software program for a lot of Tesla’s enterprise.

Growing this complicated system is dear and time-consuming. Tesla has spent roughly 200 man-years of labor to develop the High quality Assurance scripts – the cumulative hours spent by the High quality Assurance Engineering workforce over the previous twelve years. The engineers’ work can be guided by the enterprise leaders in Tesla, who establish what duties must be automated – one other giant and helpful funding of its time.

Tesla is on the lookout for damages to be decided at trial and an injunction to dam the defendant from sharing any info with different events.

Right here’s the complete criticism filed with the court docket:

It’s not the primary time that Tesla is popping to the court docket from defending its commerce secrets and techniques from former workers who allegedly stole vital info.

Tesla sued employees that they claim stole the Autopilot source code after which went to Xpeng, a Chinese language EV automaker.

The automaker additionally sued Zoox and it’s presently embroiled in a lawsuit with Rivian over comparable claims of IP theft.

FTC: We use revenue incomes auto affiliate hyperlinks. More.

Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.