According to his documents court, the former employee, called Guangzhi Cao, admitted he had access in Tesla's source code and that he kept the files on his drive. However, he denies that his actions constitute theft of trade secrets. Tesla, on the other hand, has a different view. In her complaint, she states that the autopilot operation, on which Cao was working, is the "jewel of Tesla" and that Cao tried to transfer this important trade secret to Xiaopeng Motors, the company he now works for.
In November of 2018, Xiaopeng Motors offered Cao a job. The company claims that before leaving the company, Cao has downloaded the full copies of the source code associated with the Tesla Autopilot in its iCloud personal account. The company claims that the former employee stole over 300.000 archives and directories, violating Tesla's policies and the agreement that had been made between the company and Cao.
This is not the first time that Xiaopeng Motors, also known as XMotors or XPeng, is involved in such assumptions. Xiaopeng Motors is a Chinese electric vehicle company. Last year, a former Apple employee was arrested, as he was accused of theft data and transfer them to the Chinese company. The worker admitted that he had taken the material and had announced his intention to move to China to work in Xiaopeng Motors.
Xiaopeng Motors is not directly accused of an offense. However, in the complaint, Tesla reports that the Chinese company is trying to copy its ideas: "In order to hit Tesla, XMotors designed its vehicles based on Tesla's open source patents while at the same time mimicking the design, technology even Tesla’s business model ”.
The Chinese company claims that it has nothing to do with the actions of its potential employees and that charges against it are unfounded.