Canoo Files Suit Against Fellow EV Start Up Harbinger Motors, Ex-Employees
Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Last week Canoo filed a lawsuit accusing Harbinger Motors and several former Canoo employees of trade secret theft and corporate espionage. Interestingly Canoo is also including Harbinger's financial backers in their sights as well as Thor Industries(NYSE: THO), who announced a strategic partnership with Harbinger early December to develop an electric RV.
Canoo is saying that the former employees misappropriated financial resources, business plans, human capital, trade secrets and other IP while forming Harbinger.
Here is the list of defendants:
Harbinger Motors, Inc, formerly known as Electron Transport Inc.
Phillip Weicker, Co-Founder and CTO of Harbinger, formerly Co-Founder and head of Powertrain and Electronics for Canoo.
Michael Fielkow, General Counsel of Harbinger, formerly VP of Legal for Canoo.
Alexi Charbonneau, VP of Structures and Chassis, formerly Co-Founder and head of Skateboard and Cabin for Canoo.
Benjamin Dusastre, CFO Harbinger,
William Eberts, Co-Founder and COO of Harbinger, formerly PM of Powertrain and Electronics for Canoo. William worked in-between those two positions as an Engineering PM for Anduril for almost two years.
John Henry Harris, Co-Founder and CEO of Harbringer, formerly Head of Sentry Tower Hardware, Principal Mechanical Engineer for Anduril.
Bharat Forge Limited
Jackson Moses, Investor
Overture Climate VC
Ridgeline Partners, LLC
Schematic Ventures, LLC
Tiger Global Management, LLC
Thor Industries, Inc.
If you feel like you've seen this movie before, that is because it's a very similar story to Canoo's beginnings, where many Faraday Future employees left to form Evelozcity(which later became Canoo). Faraday Future filed suit against Canoo Co-Founders Krause and Kranz alleging they “began covertly soliciting a large number of FF employees, including several key executives and technical personnel” while they were still employed by Faraday Future and that the new startup encouraged these employees to steal trade secrets on their way out the door “in order to harm FF and to give Evelozcity an unfair advantage.” That case was ultimately dismissed a year later with each party paying their own lawyer fees.
Update: It was pointed out to us a major difference between the situations is that Canoo's direction, product and platform was very different from Faraday Futures offering while Harbinger has developed a very similar offering and platform to Canoo only they're focused on medium and heavy duty vehicles.
One final thought about this is it seems to provide more insight again as to why Canoo and CEO Tony Aquila is so secretive about their dealings. We'll keep and eye out and provide updates to the case as they develop.
For a complete review of the filing, you can watch the vide below:
Authors disclosures: I am long Canoo - I own common shares, warrants and call options.