Electric aviation startup Whisk Aero’s rival Archer Aviation’s request for a preliminary injunction was rejected by a federal judge on Thursday, the latest in an ongoing legal battle over whether Archer stole trade secrets in the development of its flagship aircraft.

The full written opinion has not yet been published. In a judgment filed earlier this week, Judge William Orrick said Wisk’s “evidence of malpractice is too much to guarantee a preliminary order.” Whiskey applied for a restraining order in May; If it had been approved, it would have effectively stopped Archer’s operation immediately.

Whisk submitted submitted trade secrets to the court alleging that it was stolen and used by Archer, and that the order would have barred Arthur from using any of them until a final decision was issued in the lawsuit. It is an extraordinary request and in the sense that Orrick needs to see more specific evidence of malpractice.

“There are some arguable indications of malpractice, but given how inconsistent the evidence is, Wisak is not entitled to an extraordinary remedy of the restraining order,” Orik said in the interim judgment. “Because the merits are very uncertain, therefore, even Whiskey on an illegal basis has not shown an adequately irreparable injury. And the balance of difficulties favors Archer, because without solid evidence of malpractice, the restraining order seriously threatens his business. “

Whisk says the judge’s decision on the order has no effect on the outcome of the case. “And that at least doesn’t make Archer innocent.”

We have brought this lawsuit based on strong indications of theft and use of Whiskey’s IP, and the initial limited evidence collected to date by the court process only confirms our belief that the misrepresentation in Archer’s Whiskey trade secrets is widespread and that Archer’s aircraft development is widespread. Continued. “Following today’s ruling, Whiskey will be allowed to begin honestly collecting evidence.”

Whiskey was founded in 2019 as a joint venture between Kitty Hawk and Boeing, but has a long history with electric aviation. The company was originally founded in 2010 as Levat, which eventually merged with sister company Kitty Hawk. Whisk says it (like the Kitty Hawk) went zero in 2016 on a fixed-wing, 12-rotor design. This is the design that is the centerpiece of its first plane, the Cora.

In contrast, Archer is new to the field. Most of Whiskey’s real complaint, filed in April, is predicted by the speed with which Archer brings its air taxi service to market. Archer also hired several Whiskey engineers – including former employee Jing Xu, whom Wiske said had downloaded nearly 1,000 files before leaving the company, which he allegedly handed over to Archer.

When examined closely, Xu called for a Fifth Amendment and, citing ongoing federal investigations, demanded his right not to commit suicide.

Archer says Whiskey has not produced any significant evidence of a central claim in the lawsuit: he obtained Archer’s Whiskey trade secrets and used them. Whisk’s allegations are “based on conspiracy theories and blatant misrepresentations,” said Eric Lentell, Archer’s deputy general counsel.

“It is clear to us from Wisk’s actions in this case that after recognizing Archer’s speed and the pace of innovation, Vix began abusing the judicial and criminal justice system in an attempt to slow down his own lack of success.” -Founders Brett Duck and Adam Goldstein said.

The court will hold a scheduled conference on August 11, where the judge will outline the next steps for the case. No date has been set for the hearing.

The case is filed in California Northern District Court under Case No. 3: 2021cv02450.