Musk drops OpenAI case

Elon Musk has suddenly dropped his lawsuit against OpenAI for breach of contract

Martin Crowley
June 12, 2024

Ex-OpenAI co-founder, Elon Musk, has withdrawn his lawsuit against OpenAI, and co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, for breaching its “founding agreement” to develop AI technology to benefit humanity.

The case filing

Musk initially filed against OpenAI in February, accusing it of violating its “founding agreement” of developing AI technology “for the benefit of humanity.”  He alleged that after it partnered with Microsoft, it changed to a non-profit and stopped sharing its technology with the public, constituting a breach of that founding agreement.

The case

OpenAI denied all accusations, refuting the supposed “founding agreement”, releasing messages and emails from Musk showing that he supported the move to become a for-profit company, and asking for the case to be dismissed.

Legal experts also confirmed that the case was questionable as the “founding agreement” underpinning Musk’s lawsuit, wasn’t a formal, written contract that was signed by all parties, and felt Musk’s 35-page complaint was “a good advertisement” for Elon Musk–as largely detailed his own part in co-founding the company in 2015–  but questioned its legal viability.

The dismissal

Musk gave no indication that he was planning to withdraw his lawsuit (in fact, it was only a month ago that his lawyers filed a challenge to force the original case judge to remove himself from the trial) and didn’t give any explanation about his sudden decision. But it comes just one day before the scheduled hearing in San Francisco, where a judge was set to review OpenAI’s request for a case dismissal, and one day after he wildly threatened to ban all Apple devices from his businesses after the Apple and OpenAI partnership was announced at Apple’s developer conference.  

OpenAI is thrilled with the outcome:

“We’re pleased that this baseless lawsuit has been dismissed. We’re focused on building and developing safe and sophisticated AI, and we’re thrilled to be able to move forward without this distraction.”