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Tesla is suing former employees and self-driving startup Zoox for allegedly taking secrets

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Tesla is suing self-driving car startup Zoox and several former Tesla employees for allegedly stealing company information.

The electric car maker says former employees Scott Turner, Sydney Cooper, Christian Dement, and Craig Emigh, "absconded with select proprietary Tesla documents useful to their new employer, and at least one of them used Tesla's confidential information to target other Tesla employees for hiring by Zoox," according to a suit filed in a U.S. District Court in Northern California.

In doing so the defendants, including Zoox, allegedly attempted to "steal Tesla's proprietary information and trade secrets to help Zoox leapfrog past years of work needed to develop and run its own warehousing, logistics, and inventory control operations."

Zoox is one of many Silicon Valley startups working on self-driving car technology. Tesla has long said it is also working on self-driving car technology.

Tesla declined to comment beyond what is contained in the brief, and Zoox was not immediately available for comment.

It is not the first time Tesla has sued a former employee for allegedly stealing information and trying to poach employees. Tesla filed a similar suit in 2017 against a former employee involved with Tesla's automated driving program who had left the company to co-found an autonomous driving startup called Aurora. The parties settled the suit.

One of Zoox's earliest investors was Steve Jurvetson, a Tesla board member currently on leave. Jurvetson also sits on the board of SpaceX, a space travel contractor Tesla CEO Elon Musk founded. A current board member at Zoox, Laurie Yoler, is also a former Tesla board member.

--CNBC's Lora Kolodny contributed to this story.

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