Tesla is looking for help from Apple as it pursues legal action against a former engineer who reportedly took thousands of highly confidential files from the company when he started working for Chinese automaker Xpeng.
Bloomberg reports that in the lawsuit, Tesla wants to see the engineer’s emails and have a forensic analysis conducted on his electronic devices. Tesla has served Apple with a subpoena as part of its ongoing legal action and while the lawsuit doesn’t state specifically what it wants from the world’s most valuable public company, the two brands do have a common enemy in Xpeng.
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In July 2018, prosecutors charged a former hardware engineer from Apple’s autonomous vehicle development team of downloading proprietary files as he prepared to leave the company and work for Xpeng.
Lawyers for the former engineer being pursued by Tesla, Guangzhi Cao, have acknowledged that the man downloaded copies of the Californian automaker’s Autopilot-related source code to his personal iCloud account but denies any wrongdoing. The lawyers state that he “has done precisely nothing with Tesla’s IP” and “diligently and earnestly” tried to scrub all of Tesla’s source code from his personal devices.
Xpeng itself hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing by Apple or Tesla and denies any involvement in the alleged misconduct of the engineers in question. According to the company, it fired the former Apple engineer after it was notified that U.S. authorities were investigating the man, confirming that his computer and office equipment were secured and that he was immediately denied access to his work.