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Summary:

A lawsuit against battery startup Envia — from its former CEO and two other former employees — looks headed for dismissal.

Envia's battery factory

The former executives of battery startup Envia, who sued the company for alleged fraud in the inducement of employment and wrongful termination, have now asked the court to dismiss that case without prejudice. “Without prejudice” means that the plaintiffs preserve the right to refile the case at a later date. The documents were filed on January 16.

The case was complex and much of it rested on another lawsuit that was filed against Envia back in 2012 that had been on hold for awhile. That former suit was from a nanotech startup called NanoeXa Corporation; it claimed that one of its early employees had left the company with NanoeXa‘s IP in order to use it in Envia’s battery technology. Quartz writer Steve LeVine does a good job of looking at the complexities of the two cases.

enviaphoto

This more recent lawsuit, filed by former Envia CEO Atul Kapadia, and former executives Hari Iyer, and Rohit Arora, was filed back in November 2013. It exposed a lot of alleged details about how Envia had lost a major contract with car maker GM, and how Envia was unable to deliver the battery it promised to GM at certain technical specifications and at a certain date.

Envia, through a crisis PR firm it hired last year, denied the allegations, stating: “The allegations in the complaint are baseless. The evidence will show that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit is nothing more than the spurious allegations of three disgruntled former employees.”

The case highlights the rough and tumble world of tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Lawsuits are common, founder squabbles are routine, and IP battles are everyday events. The path for a battery startup is particularly difficult, given the long time lines needed to commercialize battery technologies.

  1. Long story short, they made it work in the lab, but they couldn’t scale it up for large scale manufacturing like so many other battery technologies.

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  2. Kapadia lawsuit barely lasted a month and now he dislissed it. I smell something very fishy when CEOs try to act as victims. They always have golden parachute and when it is not golden enough they use frivolous lawsuits to extract money.

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    1. Innovation & commercialization is very slow in batteries and EVs. Look at Elon Musk, he is slowly and patiently building Tesla. Yes there were battery fires but he tackled headon. Elon didnt complain he is clueless because he came from Paypal. Kapadia et al claimed they were clueless as they came from venture world. Wernt they ashamed collecting paycheck every month? Looks like they were in for making quick bucks. It didnt happen then they sued to make some money. Cleantech companies are better served without these bad executives. We need more Elons.

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