Wisk Sues Archer
On April 6, Wisk Aero filed a lawsuit against Archer Aviation, alleging theft of intellectual property and trade secrets. In its investor briefing in March, Archer highlighted that it had hired away a significant number of engineers from Wisk’s Cora development team (and Airbus’s Vahana program). Among other allegations, Wisk stated in a blog post, “We discovered that one of those engineers downloaded thousands of Wisk files near midnight, shortly before he announced his resignation and immediately departed to Archer. Those files contain our valuable trade secrets and confidential information about Wisk’s aircraft development spanning the history of the company, accumulated over countless hours of incremental progress by scores of engineers. Another engineer downloaded numerous files containing test data just before departing for Archer. Yet another wiped any trace of his computer activities shortly before leaving for Archer.” Wisk also noted the similarity of Archer’s design to the company’s own 2020 patent application.
Archer denied the allegations that it had used Wisk’s intellectual property in developing its Maker eVTOL design. “It’s regrettable that Wisk would engage in litigation in an attempt to deflect from the business issues that have caused several of its employees to depart. The plaintiff raised these matters over a year ago and, after looking into them thoroughly, we have no reason to believe any proprietary Wisk technology ever made its way to Archer.”
Archer stated that it is cooperating with the authorities, noting that it had placed an employee on paid administrative leave in connection with the federal investigation. It said that a search warrant issued to the employee was “focused on conduct prior to the employee joining the company,” but that Archer “and three other Archer employees with whom the individual worked also have received subpoenas relating to this investigation.”