Air taxi company Wisk Aero has sued its rival Archer Aviation over allegations of the latter stealing its trade secrets and infringing its patents.
In its lawsuit, Wisk is seeking unspecified monetary damages and an injunction to force Archer to stop using its allegedly stolen tech.
Wisk filed the lawsuit in the District Court of Northern California. Wisk accused Archer of stealing its intellectual property and it is asking the court to help it protect its patents, which it said was developed after substantial investments, resources, and hard work.
Archer Aviation was established in the spring of 2020. One of its first employees was a former Wisk worker. Archer also poached several engineers from Airbus' Vahana project.
Sources with knowledge in the matter said that Archer was able to lure in key talent from its competitors by offering them higher salaries.
Wisk Aero is a joint venture company established by Boeing and Kitty Walk. The company is heavily backed by Google co-founder Larry Page. Apart from stealing its trade secrets, Wisk also accused Archer of stealing away its top talents.
According to Wisk, Archer's emergence in the electric aircraft space "surprised the industry." Wisk said Archer was able to announce a shortened time frame for going to market with its products even with just a fraction of employees than more established companies because it pilfered valuable trade secrets.
Wisk said the development of a new kind of passenger aircraft takes years of engineering and development to get right. The company said it took more than 10 years for it to develop its product.
"We believe it is virtually impossible for Archer to have produced an originally-designed aircraft in this timeframe that has gone through the necessary testing and is ready for certification with the FAA," Wisk said.
Wisk pointed out in its filing that Archer's prototype aircraft suspiciously resembles its own prototype. Both aircraft feature the same rotor and blade designs, which are able to tilt vertically and horizontally. They also sport the same "unconventional" V-shaped tail design, Wisk said.
"The striking similarity in these designs could not have been a coincidence," Wisk said.