Air mobility company Visco Aero, which originated from a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, filed a lawsuit against Archer Aviation on Tuesday alleging patent infringement and trade secret misconduct.
Wisk claims in the lawsuit that Archer had “shamelessly stolen” confidential information and intellectual property. The lawsuit points to the design of Archer’s first electric aircraft released in February, which Visk says is one of its possible designs. That design was submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office in January 2020, and Wisk alleges that the similarities are many, which is a coincidence.
Wisk further claims that during a forensic investigation opened after Archer hired 10 former Wisk engineers, one of them secretly downloaded thousands of files before his departure. Another engineer also downloaded the files, which the suit alleges.
The information included in the stolen files includes system design, test data and aircraft design, Wisk said in a blog post posted Tuesday.
The company said in a blog post, “As our complaint states, designer Archer demonstrates his insider knowledge of Wisk’s extensive aerodynamic testing and evaluation experiments and modeling data.” “The similarity in overall aircraft design and more detailed design indicates Archer’s use of features, including features related to aircraft propulsion, power management, avionics, flight control, and manufacturing methodology.”
Archer has recorded some major wins in 2021, including an announcement in February that it would merge with special-purpose acquisition company Atlas Crest Investment Corp for an equity valuation of $ 3.8 million. In February, the Palo Alto, California-based startup placed a $ 1 billion order with United Airlines as a customer and investor.
An Archer spokesperson said in an email to ClearTips, “It is regrettable that Wisk will engage in litigation in an effort to avoid business issues that have left many of its employees off.” The plaintiff took up these matters a year ago, and after looking at them well, we have no reason why any proprietary Wisk technology ever made its way to Archer. We intend to vigorously defend ourselves. “
An Archer spokesman said the company “placed an employee on administrative leave in relation to government investigations and search warrants issued to the employee, which it believed focused on conduct before the employee joined the company” Archer and three other Archer employees with whom the person worked have also found subtypes related to this investigation, and are fully cooperating with all officers. “
The lawsuit was filed with the California Northern District Court under suit. 5: 21-cv-02450.