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OpenAI denies Elon Musk lawsuit claim that there ever was founding agreement

OpenAI has questioned a claim made by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in his lawsuit against the business earlier this month.  

OpenAI confronts a flurry of legal challenges as it strives to commercialize its ChatGPT chatbot and underlying artificial intelligence models, including one from Musk and charges of copyright infringement brought by the New York Times and others. Last week, OpenAI responded to Musk’s complaint by mocking it in a note to colleagues and revealing communications involving him dating back to its early days. 

Musk, who alleged breach of contract at the business he financed, cited a 2015 “founding agreement” with two other OpenAI co-founders, Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, in his case filed earlier this month. The three had agreed that a new AI lab would be a charity for the good of humanity and would not keep information secret for economic gain, Musk added. 

He went on to explain that when OpenAI released the GPT-4 large language model last year without giving scientific facts for public use, it violated the agreement.  

“There is no Founding Agreement, or any agreement at all with Musk, as the complaint itself makes clear,” OpenAI stated in a filing filed with California’s superior court in San Francisco County. “The Founding Agreement is instead 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.” 

Musk cited OpenAI’s 2015 certificate of incorporation with the Delaware Secretary of State, claiming that it “memorialized” the founding agreement. However, OpenAI reacted by stating that Musk’s complaint lacked a genuine agreement.  

The Microsoft-backed startup dismissed Musk’s assertions as ludicrous. However, in a Monday blog post, it stated that it was requesting the court to classify the case as difficult and obtain dedicated case management for it because it incorporates AI and has allegations dating back nearly ten years. 

In his complaint, Musk stated that, in response to OpenAI’s 2017 proposal to form a for-profit business, he advised Brockman, Altman, and OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever to [e]ither go do something on your own or continue with OpenAI as a nonprofit.”  

OpenAI stated in its March 6 filing that if the lawsuit went to discovery, evidence would reveal that Musk supported the startup’s transition to a for-profit structure. 

Musk has his own AI lab, X.AI, and has produced a chatbot named Grok, which is available through X, formerly known as Twitter, which Musk purchased in 2022. The business will make Grok’s code available under an open-source license this week, Musk announced in an X post on Monday.  

ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, had 100 million weekly users as of November

“Seeing the remarkable technological advances OpenAI has achieved, Musk now wants that success for himself,” according to the company’s application. “So he brings this action accusing Defendants of breaching a contract that never existed and duties Musk was never owed, demanding relief calculated to benefit a competitor to OpenAI.”  






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