Wisk Aero has filed a lawsuit against Archer Aviation alleging that Archer misappropriated trade secrets and infringed on patents related to Wisk’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Wisk claims that former employees who left the company to work for Archer downloaded and shared files “related to Wisk’s confidential aircraft designs, component designs, system designs, manufacturing, and test data.” The lawsuit also asserted that Archer’s newly revealed eVTOL design “appeared to be a copy of a potential design that Wisk had developed for its next-generation aircraft and submitted in a confidential patent application” in January 2020.
“Wisk brings this lawsuit to stop a brazen theft of its intellectual property and confidential information, and protect the substantial investment of resources and years of hard work and effort of its employees and their vision of the future in urban air transportation,” Wisk said in its complaint (PDF), which was filed in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California. Wisk’s suit also noted that Archer has recruited and hired a total of ten engineers formerly employed by Wisk.
“It’s regrettable that Wisk would engage in litigation in an attempt to deflect from the business issues that have caused several of its employees to depart,” a spokesperson for Archer said. “The plaintiff raised these matters over a year ago, and after looking into them thoroughly, we have no reason to believe any proprietary Wisk technology ever made its way to Archer. We intend to defend ourselves vigorously.”
Archer also reported that one of its employees has been placed on paid administrative leave “in connection with a government investigation and a search warrant issued to the employee.” The company stated that it believes the investigation relates to the employee’s conduct prior to joining Archer and that the company is cooperating fully with authorities.