Intellectual property can encompass a lot of things, including inventions, designs or other creative outputs of the mind. The owner or creator of such property owns the rights to it and can apply for a patent, copyright or trademark. It's a broad term in some respects. It is often the source of lawsuits when a person or entity believes they own the intellectual property rights to the creation and another person or entity believes they do.
Such is the case in a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court. The complaint, which is 52 pages long, alleges that the chief technology officer and co-founder of Envia Systems stole intellectual property from his former employer, NanoeXa. There is already another lawsuit in litigation that alleges that NanoeXa stole intellectual property. That suit was filed early last year.
The new lawsuit was filed by three former employees of Envia. They say they were ousted from the company when they brought to light the co-founder's misconduct involving the outright theft of intellectual property from NanoeXa. That alleged theft involved a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Envia's technology behind the battery was so innovative that the Department of Energy's ARPA-E division awarded a $4 million grant to the company. In addition, General Motors wanted to be able to license the technology, so they invested in the company.
The former employees of Envia filing the suit are the former chief executive officer, the former vice-president of business operations and the former executive vice-president of commercialization. The three alleged that they joined Envia because of the "technology that would make mass-market electric vehicles a reality." The former CEO put up $3 million to make the company a reality. After the three brought up their concerns, they alleged that they "were subjected to retaliation, wrongful termination and defamation."
Envia denies any wrongdoing, calling the allegations "baseless." The current CEO of NanoeXa says that there is "more than adequate evidence" to support the lawsuit's allegations.
When intellectual property is created, either by an entity or individual, everything must be done to protect the rights to it. Attorneys who specialize in intellectual property rights can help protect the owner's interests.
Source: mercurynews.com, "Lawsuit alleges that battery startup Envia Systems was founded using stolen intellectual property; Envia denies it" Dana Hull, Dec. 04, 2013