Arbitrator Clears Electric Carmaker in Trade Secrets Case

December 7th, 2008 by Eric Lane Leave a reply »


In a previous post, I wrote about a trade secrets case between two rival electric car startups, Tesla Motors (Tesla) and Fisker Automotive (Fisker). 

In the lawsuit, filed in April, Tesla accused Fisker along with its CEO, Henrik Fisker, its COO, Bernhard Koehler, and Mssrs. Fisker and Koehler’s design company, Fisker Coachbuild, of stealing Tesla’s confidential design ideas for a hybrid electric sedan.

Tesla had alleged that Fisker Coachbuild, which Tesla hired to help design a high performance electric-hybrid sports sedan, used confidential information acquired during the engagement to secretly design its own directly competing sedan, the Karma. 

Last month Fisker announced that an arbitrator issued an interim award decision absolving the carmaker and the design company of any wrongdoing.  The arbitrator’s decision is not public so our only source for the details of the decision is Fisker’s PR department, which didn’t release the grounds for the decision.

According to Fisker’s press release, the arbitrator found Tesla’s trade secrets claim “baseless” and “neither brought nor pursued in good faith.” 

The good news for Fisker didn’t end there: the electric carmaker also announced last month that it would open an engineering and development facility in Pontiac, Michigan and that it signed an assembly contract with Valment Automotive to manufacture the Karma in Finland.


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