SolarCity Sued by Cogenra Solar and Khosla Ventures

The parties accused SolarCity of gaining undue advantage of Cogenra's Shingling technology that helps in manufacturing high-efficiency commercially viable solar panels.
SolarCity Sued by Cogenra Solar and Khosla Ventures
Image credit: Reuters | Rashid Umar Abbasi
Elon Musk, Chairman of SolarCity and CEO of Tesla Motors.

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now!
2 min read
This story originally appeared on Reuters

Elon Musk's SolarCity has been accused of intellectual property theft by Cogenra Solar Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SunPower Corporation, and Khosla Ventures.

In a lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Monday, the parties accused SolarCity of gaining undue advantage of Cogenra's Shingling technology that helps in manufacturing high-efficiency commercially viable solar panels.

SolarCity and its subsidiary Silevo misappropriated Cogenra's trade secrets, manufacturing processes and other intellectual property to give themselves a competitive advantage and head start in developing shingled-cell solar modules, Cogenra said in the lawsuit.

SolarCity said that last week it discovered that a former SolarCity employee had unlawfully downloaded confidential information, copied that information to a personal hard drive and then joined SunPower as a senior sales manager.

"Any unauthorized copying and use of this information is a very serious violation of SolarCity's intellectual property rights so we immediately notified SunPower," SolarCity said in a statement.

Cogenra's complaint fails to identify any actual trade secret that Cogenra owns, much less that SolarCity supposedly misappropriated, SolarCity said.

From 2009 to 2015, venture capital firm Khosla Ventures owned about 80 percent of Cogenra, the lawsuit stated.

Last week Tesla said its proposed acquisition of SolarCity could be delayed because of shareholder lawsuits alleging board members breached their fiduciary duty.

United States District Court Northern District Of California

San Francisco Division, Case number 3:16-cv-05481.

(Reporting by Vishal Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sandra Maler)

More from Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur Select: A Fund For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs require more than just money, which is why we aim to empower you, as well as act as a catalyst for value creation.

Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • Bonus: A FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur