Once much touted and promising battery startup, Envia Systems is now facing two lawsuits. The lawsuits allege the startup doesn't own any breakthrough technology and whatever it has, is stolen from other companies. The allegations have made Envia Systems lose a deal with auto giant General Motors (GM).
In November this year, Envia's former CEO Atul Kapadia, along with other executives, filed a lawsuit against the company for their wrongful termination. They were fired after the deal with GM, which was the company's only source of revenue.
Last year in February, a nanotech startup, NanoeXa Corporation alleged Envia of intellectual property theft. It said that, co-founder of Envia, Sujeet Kumar, along with two other executives, had left NanoeXa in 2007 and had taken the company's formula for battery cathode technology with them.
The ongoing lawsuit over Envia has alleged that Kumar used the same cathode technology as the basis for starting the company six years ago.
The court filings also include allegations that Envia had used anode technology that was confidentially purchased from Japanese chemical company Shin-Etsu.
The much touted Envia's battery had managed to attract attention of many auto makers, including GM. GM wanted to use the technology in its future EVs and the interest became more evident when the company invested $17 million in Envia three years ago.
Envia has dismissed the allegations in the lawsuit, saying, "The allegations in the complaint are baseless. The evidence will show that the plaintiffs' lawsuit is nothing more than the spurious allegations of three disgruntled former employees."
Maybe so. However, it seems GM isn't taking any chances.