A rendering of Archer’s proposed electric aircraft, which the company says can travel 60 miles at speeds of up to 250 mph
Archer Aviation wants a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging it violated trade secrets to develop electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft.
In a brief filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, Archer says that a lawsuit filed by Wisk Aero is unfounded.
“Wisk is attempting to improperly interfere with Archer’s billion dollar transactions with this baseless lawsuit and a simultaneous media campaign, both launched shortly after the announcement of the transactions. Archer is filing in response to the Wisk lawsuit. “Despite the breathless innuendos and unfounded speculation to which Wisk devotes all of his complaint, Archer’s eVTOL aircraft design is not only the best eVTOL aircraft there is, it is entirely Archer’s design.”
The case revolves around the rapidly evolving but untested world of eVTOLs. Several companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to build electric aircraft that will carry passengers over short distances. While it’s unclear when regulators will eventually certify eVTOLs for commercial services, UK consultancy IDTechEx estimates the eVTOL market could grow to $ 14.7 billion over the next two decades.
Archer, which began in 2018, made a big splash in February, announcing plans to merge with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. Among those who backed the deal was United Airlineswho ordered 200 Archer eVTOLs.
Less than two months later, Wisk Aero sued Archer, alleging the company had access to more than 50 trade secrets after hiring former Wisk employees. Wisk was founded in 2019 through a joint venture with the support of. founded Boeing and Kitty Hawk, a start-up of alphabet Co-founder Larry Page. Wisk has announced plans for an urban air mobility partnership with Blade that will focus on eVTOL aircraft that Wisk is developing.
In a request for a restraining order filed in mid-May to prevent Archer from developing an eVTOL, Wisk attorneys wrote, “The similarities between the two companies’ designs cannot have been a coincidence or the result of independent development by Archer.”
Archer’s attorneys say Wisk’s claims are incorrect. In his abstract, Archer argues, “There is not the slightest evidence that Archer ever used or was aware of any Wisk trade secret. Despite its 73 pages and over 200 paragraphs, Wisk’s complaint does not identify even a single Wisk trade secret, let alone every trade secret Archer has ever used. “