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OpenAI slams Musk’s ‘revisionist history’ in bid to toss lawsuit

Musk also faulted OpenAI for entering into a multibillion-dollar partnership with Microsoft, its principal funder.
Last Updated : 20 April 2024, 10:26 IST
Last Updated : 20 April 2024, 10:26 IST

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By Robert Burnson

OpenAI says Elon Musk’s claim that the company has abandoned its altruistic principles in pursuit of profits is nothing more than “revisionist history” and an effort to boost his competing artificial intelligence company.

Musk, one of OpenAI’s early funders, sued the company and chief executive officer Sam Altman in March, saying it had breached its founding promise to build responsible artificial intelligence when it entered into a partnership with Microsoft Corp.

“Years ago, plaintiff Elon Musk abandoned OpenAI when his bid to dominate the venture failed,” OpenAI’s lawyers said in a court filing asking for the suit to be dismissed. “Now that he has launched a competing artificial intelligence company, Musk seeks to leverage the success OpenAI has achieved and to direct OpenAI’s affairs for his own commercial benefit.”

OpenAI’s lawyers also refute Musk’s claim that the company promised not to monetize its technology, saying the billionaire CEO of Tesla Inc. and owner of X, formerly Twitter, had failed to show evidence of any contract to the contrary.

“Musk cannot bring suit on an agreement that he cannot even plead into existence,” according to the filing in state court in San Francisco.

In his complaint, Musk quoted OpenAI’s certificate of incorporation, in which the non-profit pledged to make its product available to the public.

But the pledge was not open-ended, OpenAI’s lawyers said in their filing. “In its certificate of incorporation, OpenAI, Inc. expressed its intention to ‘seek to open source technology for the public benefit when applicable,’ thus recognizing from the outset that its mission required ‘an ongoing conversation about what work should be open-sourced and what shouldn’t,’” according to the filing.

Musk also faulted OpenAI for entering into a multibillion-dollar partnership with Microsoft, its principal funder.

“But Musk identifies no provision of the alleged ‘Founding Agreement’ that bars licensing of OpenAI’s technology or precludes a third party from occupying a board observer seat,” OpenAI’s lawyers wrote.

Musk couldn’t immediately be reached for comment after regular business hours at Tesla or X.

A hearing on the request for dismissal of the suit is set for April 24.

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Published 20 April 2024, 10:26 IST

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