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The New York Times reported earlier today that local electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is suing Fisker Automotive, alleging breach of contract by a designer who took his trade secrets to the upstart rival. Earth2Tech pointed out that the two startup automakers are the pet projects of rival VCs, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson on Tesla's side and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers on Fisker's, making for a classic Valley catfight. But that's not the only case bedeviling Tesla.

Some more digging turned up another suit in San Mateo County courts, but in this one Tesla is the defendant, with original transmission manufacturer Magna suing the company, demanding $5.6 million in outstanding payments. It was the development of a transmission that has been widely cited as the reason for the company's slow march to market with an actual product. Looks like cleantech is like any other emerging industry — the real winners aren't the VCs or the entrepreneurs, but the lawyers. (Photo by Alexander van Dijk)