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Tesla Says Engineer Stole Code Worth 200 Years Of Work Automating Entire Process Of The Company

Tesla claims a software engineer by the name of Alex Khatilov stole critical automated software. The scripts took Tesla 12 years and 200 man-years to develop.


Tesla has filed a lawsuit with United States District Court for Northern California alleging Alex Khatilov, a systems engineer hired by Tesla has stolen proprietary automation software the entire organization operates by.

The suit comes after Tesla’s information security personnel learned Mr. Khatilov improperly transferred 26,000 scrips Tesla uses to automate its operations. The allegedly stolen data contains a number of Tesla’s automation processes by which the entire manufacturing process from ordering parts to delivering vehicles runs on.

On top of that, Tesla claims among the stolen scripts include “QualityAssurance processes that run a broad range of business functions without human effort, including procurement, materials planning and processing, payables, and purchasing”

Related news: After Tesla’s Win, Case Against Gigafactory “Whistleblower” To Go To Trial

According to Tesla, the stolen data includes Tesla’s entire automated services which spanned 12 years of work and 200 man-years of effort.

Tesla in the lawsuit alleges, Khatilov only 3 days after being hired on December 28, 2020, as a senior systems engineer for the company began unlawfully transferring Tesla’s proprietary systems automation scripts to his personal Dropbox account.

Tesla Workers

Information security personnel working for Tesla learned of the incident on January 6, 2020, and proceeded to interview the defendant. According to Tesla, during the interview process, Mr. Kahtilov repeatedly claimed he only downloaded a couple of personal administrative files such as his scanned passport and a copy of his W-4.

Following in the interview process, Kahtilov gave Tesla investigators remote access to view his Dropbox account. Tesla claims at this point their investigators were able to find thousands of Tesla’s confidential computer scripts in his Dropbox.

Tesla further asserts “Kahtilov then claimed he somehow “forgot” about the thousands of other files he stole. Even worse, it became apparent that Defendant had brazenly attempted to destroy the evidence by hurriedly deleting the Dropbox client and other files during the beginning of the interview when investigators were attempting to remotely access his computer.”

Investigators for Tesla were able to remotely view Khatilov’s Dropbox account and with his cooperation deleted all Tesla files that remained. However, Tesla is still unsure of the extent to wit Khatilov might have dispersed the files before deleting them or whether he has other copies of the files he can use to gain profit by providing them to Tesla’s competitors.

Tesla is suing Khatilov for Violation of the Defend Trade SecretsAct, Violation of the California UniformTrade Secrets Act, and finally, Breach of Contrac for not adhering to the NDA he signed to protect Tesla’s trade secret during accepting his employment.

If you want to read Tesla’s suit against Alex Khalitov in its entirety, you can find the court filing below.

Tesla Inc v Alex Khalitov C... by Fred Lamert

So what do you think? Is Tesla right for going after Alex Khalitov? Do you think the employee had mal intentions for taking Tesla’s proprietary scripts? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

For more information check out: First Image of Clad Refreshed Model S & X Sighted In Tesla’s Fremont Factory Also, see Tesla’s Texas Gigafactory Receives Parts For The Giga Presses To Build The Model Y

Tinsae Aregay has been following Tesla and The evolution of the EV space on a daily basis for several years. He covers everything about Tesla from the cars to Elon Musk, the energy business, and autonomy. Follow Tinsae on Twitter at
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Lawrence Beckman (not verified)    January 26, 2021 - 8:49PM

Yes, Tesla did what they needed to do to protect their intellectual assets. Alex may be a Chinese operative, stealing Tesla's manufacturing technology.