The entirety of Tesla Motors’ lawsuit against Fisker Automotive became available today, enumerating six charges, including breach of contract, fraud, and violation of unfair competition laws. Aside from alleging that Fisker simultaneously sabotaged Tesla while preparing to launch a competing company and car, the suit claims that Fisker specifically shared trade secrets with third parties to seek funding for Fisker Automotive and the Karma.
That disclosure might not be that big of a deal on its own, except for the fact that Fisker’s investors are the celebrity cleantech VCs at Kleiner Perkins: John Doerr, Ray Lane and former Vice President Al Gore. Were they duped into investing a sizable $25 million (according to Business Week) into a company that took trade secrets from a competitor? Or did they know the ins and outs of Fisker’s relationship with Tesla before they made the investment? Will we see any KPBC partners on the stand?
We’re not sure, and we’re waiting to hear back from Kleiner Perkins. Update: Kleiner Perkins’ PR just called back and has declined to comment. Either way, the suit can’t be a welcome event for the venture firm, which hasn’t shown many exits from its green portfolio yet.
It is clear that if Tesla gets what it wants from the suit, Fisker won’t be showing Kleiner many profits. The documents reads:
As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ conduct alleged above, defendants have obtained valuable property of plaintiff, and have been unjustly enriched thereby. Plaintiff is entitled to full restitution of its property and disgorgement of all profits obtained by defendants as a results of their unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent acts as alleged herein.
Perhaps Tesla could tap into that KP seed money, too, or Fisker’s VC money could just go for a lengthy and expensive court case. Well, if Tesla wins the money, it could go towards fighting its own lawsuit from its disgruntled ex-transmission maker.