Tesla asked a judge on Tuesday to serve emergency subpoenas to a number of major tech companies, including Facebook and Dropbox, for potentially receiving proprietary data from a former employee.
The former employee, Martin Tripp, “may be using additional services to divulge Tesla’s confidential and proprietary information,” court documents reveal. Companies Tesla wants subpoenaed are AT&T, Facebook, WhatsApp, Open Whisper Systems and Dropbox.
Tesla sued Tripp — who worked at a lithium-ion battery factory that Tesla is building called the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada — in mid-June for allegedly leaking “several gigabytes of Tesla data to outside entities.”
Tripp admitted to leaking the data, but he considers himself a whistleblower. His aim was to show that Tesla was potentially installing punctured batteries in Tesla vehicles.
Tesla denies those accusations, saying Tripp is “either not telling the truth or he simply has no idea what he is talking about,” in a company statement on June 20.
The company also accused Tripp of “writing software that hacked Tesla’s manufacturing operating system,” but Tripp denied those allegations, saying he doesn’t know how to code.
The judge, Valerie P. Cooke, allowed Tesla to serve similar subpoenas to Apple, Google and Microsoft on Monday.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tripp is a part of a small group of “bad apples” inside the company trying to sabotage Tesla. Musk called out an unspecified employee for the alleged plot against his company in an email to Tesla staff members on June 18. (RELATED: Elon Musk Accuses Employee Of Sabotage)
“The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad,” Musk wrote. “His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive.”
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