OpenAI calls Elon Musk’s lawsuit ‘frivolous’ and ‘incoherent’ in legal filing

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OpenAI denounced Elon Musk’s lawsuit against the company in a legal filing on Monday, describing the Tesla CEO’s claims as “frivolous” and intended only “to advance his commercial interests”.

The filing, a response to Musk suing OpenAI earlier this month over allegations that it abandoned its pledge to help humanity, rejects many of the core assertions in Musk’s suit. The company denies that it ever broke what Musk calls its “Founding Agreement”, stating that no such contract ever existed.

“Musk’s claims rest on convoluted – often incoherent – factual premises,” the filing states. “Musk says his Founding Agreement was ‘memorialized,’ but any actual agreement is conspicuously missing from the pleading.”

OpenAI and Musk have engaged in weeks of recriminations since the billionaire Tesla CEO filed his suit, escalating a long-simmering feud between Musk and OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman. The two launched the non-profit together in 2015, but disputes over the direction and control of the company led Musk to leave the company three years later. As OpenAI vaulted to prominence in recent years through popular products such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, the relationship between Musk and Altman became more openly hostile.

Musk’s suit alleges that OpenAI abandoned its founding mission of becoming a non-profit entity with the intent of openly sharing its technology for the betterment of humanity, saying that Altman betrayed that vision after taking billions in investment from Microsoft and turning OpenAI into a largely for-profit venture. OpenAI denies the allegations, and stated in a blogpost last week that Musk supported becoming a for-profit entity but wanted control of the company himself.

OpenAI’s response on Monday repeatedly suggests that Musk, who has since launched his own for-profit AI firm, is envious of OpenAI and bitter over leaving the company. It calls the idea that there was any founding agreement between Musk and Altman a “fiction Musk has conjured to lay unearned claim to the fruits of an enterprise he initially supported, then abandoned, then watched succeed without him”.

The filing alleges that Musk’s interest in suing OpenAI has nothing to do with his claims of bettering humanity, but instead is a calculated attempt to strengthen his hand as a competitor in the industry.

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“Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself,” the filing states.

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