Lime, an urban scooter company has sued Hertz Corp, a rental car giant on the grounds of unfair competition and accused the company of improperly recruiting the senior engineers of the startup.
The case was registered by Neutron Holdings Inc, which carries business as Lime based in San Francisco. The case is filed in California Federal court that demands an injunction “to recover and protect its trade secrets”, and seeks monetary compensation for the same.
As for the defendants, it named Charlie Fang who was the head of engineering of Lime and another engineer. According to Lime, Fang joined Hertz as a senior vice president last year. Although he went to another company he was in touch with former colleagues of the company which was against the company’s terms and conditions.
Hertz said in a statement it “vehemently disagrees with the claims made in the lawsuit.” Fang did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Hertz Corp is a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings Inc that operates the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty vehicle rental brands.
Lime said the loss of engineers has “significantly harmed” the company providing e-bikes and scooters on rent for a short period in about 30 countries. The company further said in the suit that it is now facing “staff shortages, recruiting costs, and critical project delays.”
According to the complaint, Hertz attempted to “capitalize” on Fang and his squad’s knowledge of creating “back-end infrastructure for ride-sharing and consumer-facing apps so that it could gain a competitive advantage over other companies.”
Along with two engineers, the former head of supply engineering of Lime, Kai Cong was also on the list of defendants. Kai Cong who now works for Hertz did not respond to a comment.
The allegations against Kai Cong according to the lawsuit were the improperly downloading confidential files of Lime before his farewell in December. The lawsuit said that Hertz has disputed that the non-solicitation agreements at issue in the case are enforceable.
The case is Neutron Holdings Inc v Hertz Corp et al, in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 3:23-cv-00934.
For the plaintiff: Melvin Felton and Stephanie Jones-Nojima of Sanders Roberts. No appearance is made for the defendants.
A transportation business with its headquarters in San Francisco, California is Neutron Holdings, Inc., also known as Lime or LimeBike. In numerous cities throughout the world, it operates electric mopeds, electric bikes, and electric scooters. The concept provides dockless vehicles that customers may locate and unlock using a smartphone app that uses GPS to identify where the vehicles are located.