China’s UCAR INC. (神州优车 in Chinese) has initiated legal action in California against former Baidu SVP Wang Jin and his startup, requesting that they cease of employment with its four former core employees at the company’s American subsidiary, local media is reporting (in Chinese).
UCAR sent lawyer’s letters to the four departed staff members on March 23, alleging that they have infringed on intellectual property and leaked commercial secrets of the company during and after their tenure at the company’s laboratory in Silicon Valley.
The four employees, who were in charge of the R&D of UCAR’s autonomous driving project, resigned en masse on March 14 and joined Jingchi Corp (景驰科技 in Chinese), a startup registered in California and set up by Wang Jin.
Wang, Baidu’s former senior vice-president and general manager of the company’s autonomous driving unit, resigned from the internet behemoth in April and started Jingchi.
In the reshuffle of Baidu’s senior management team earlier this year, Wang was kicked out of the game, with the autonomous driving unit integrated into the company’s Intelligent Driving Group or IDG.
As the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D. Cal.) issued the Temporary Restraining Order to the four employees on March 29, it signals that these people and any related party shall not commit infringement of UCAR’s intellectual property rights or divulge its commercial secrets in any manner before the court makes an official decision. This will obviously cast a shadow over Wang Jin’s new venture.
UCAR listed on the country’s over-the-counter market last July, valued at RMB 40.93 billion. The company’s chauffeured car service, Shenzhou Zhuanche (神州专车 in Chinese), together with Yidao Yongche (易到用车 in Chinese) and Didi Chuxing (滴滴出行 in Chinese) remained the top three players in the ride-hailing market, each with a 1.7%, 3.6% and 94.6% share in the third quarter of last year, according to a report (in Chinese).