Canoo sues ex-employees for stealing secrets and launching electric car brand

Canoo accuses several former Canoo employees of corporate espionage

Canoo, the Californian company we’ve talked about many times, which created the innovative MPP electric vehicle platform, has sued several of its former employees for stealing secrets and creating the Harbinger brand of electric vehicles. It is a major blow that comes at a bad financial time for the company.

Although the numbers are not good, Canoo has important contracts such as the one announced with NASA last April to transport the Artemis mission astronauts to the launch pad or the contract with the US Army for the supply of electric vehicles, as well as another with Walmart for 10,000 units of its Lifestyle Delivery Vehicle (LDV) electric vehicle. Other recent deals also include orders from Zeeba and Kingbee.

In the 58-page lawsuit, filed on 22 December, Canoo claims that several of his former employees stole intellectual property from his company for use in the new Harbinger brand of electric vehicles. Canoo goes so far as to claim that these former employees only joined the company to steal its secrets and launch a rival vehicle company.


As for the new brand, Harbinger, it is run by former executives from companies such as Faraday Future and QuantumScape, in addition to Canoo. Some of the leaders include CEO John Harris, CTO Phillip Weicker, COO Will Eberts, VP of structures and chassis Alexi Charbonneau and general counsel, secretary and director of corporate development Michael Fielkow, all of whom are named in the lawsuit filed by Canoo, which states:

“Weicker, Charbonneau and Eberts misappropriated large amounts of Canoo’s financial resources, business plans, human capital, trade secrets and other intellectual property, and conspired with Harris (who was working elsewhere) to form Harbinger using Canoo’s stolen intellectual property.”

From Canoo, they also claim that through said former employees, “Harbinger strategically recruited at least 33 of Canoo’s employees to join Harbinger, representing approximately 66% of Harbinger’s total workforce.” Today, Harbinger’s workforce includes not only former Canoo employees, but also other former top executives such as former Tesla vice president of manufacturing Gilbert Passin, now named Harbinger’s chief production officer. Harbinger says Canoo’s lawsuit is a “baseless accusation”.

In addition to the popular LDV electric vehicle, which is subscription-only, the company is also planning a future delivery van and pickup truck, as well as a sports car that was spotted in California some time ago. Last November 2022, Canoo announced the purchase of a plant in Oklahoma to produce LDV and LV electric vehicles.

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