Computer chipmaker Broadcom has accused SpaceX of improperly hiring away its employees after the companies huddled over a possible collaboration.
In a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court, Broadcom accuses SpaceX of raiding its employees to gain proprietary information. Broadcom’s request for a temporary restraining order against SpaceX was nixed a few days after the March 23 filing, but the suit continues.
Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX denies the legal action’s claim that it poached top engineers from Broadcom “to procure a family of sophisticated, customized computer chips without bearing all of the research and development costs inevitably involved in creating such chips.”
Broadcom has its main operations in Irvine, Calif., and headquarters in San Jose, Calif. It operates as a unit of Singapore-based Broadcom Ltd., formerly known as Avago Technologies prior to Avago’s acquiring the chipmaker in a deal closed in January.
SpaceX issued a statement rejecting the suit’s allegations.
“Last year, SpaceX spoke with a number of suppliers regarding potential opportunities to support SpaceX operations,” SpaceX said. “SpaceX reviewed Broadcom’s proposal but ultimately found it lacking and rejected it. … SpaceX did not pursue or lure engineers from Broadcom. On the contrary, these engineers reached out to SpaceX anticipating significant layoffs at the Broadcom Irvine location.”
Broadcom eliminated about 700 jobs in its main Irvine campus after its acquisition by Avago. Neither Broadcom nor SpaceX have disclosed what their 2015 discussions of a possible collaboration entailed.
Broadcom claims in its suit that SpaceX violated a non-disclosure agreement. In effect, SpaceX seeks to procure highly specialized computer chips without bearing R&D costs, Broadcom alleges.