Tesla, Inc. (“Tesla”) is probably one of the most innovative companies of this century. The company has produced some of the most sophisticated and environment friendly technologies to date. Moreover, a good deal of these technologies are patented protected. Patents help the company re-coup the investments and resources dedicated to creating the technologies. However, in an extremely classy move, Elon Musk and Telsa stated that they will “give up their patents.” Elon Musk and Tesla has stated:
“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
Click here to read the entire statement on Tesla’s website.
Couldn’t companies just incorporate the technologies before?
When an invention is patented, a person cannot make, use, sell, offer for sale, or import a patented invention without authorization from the patent holder. If a person or company incorporates all the elements or components of the patented invention into their invention, they are committing direct patent infringement or infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.
What COULD this imply?
Allowing others to use the inventions disclosed and the patents can possibly help the state of the art can grow exponentially. Tesla has been at the forefront in creating in some of the most advanced and environment friendly technologies. Companies may now have access those very disclosures Tesla patented, which can assist in creating more advanced technology. This may allow other companies to use and incorporate Tesla’s patented technologies into their cars. This may allow us to have more electric type cars from other producers that may be similar to Tesla cars. But there are some restrictions in using Tesla’s patented technology. Click here to read an article on those restrictions.
But is it contradictory if Tesla is still applying for and getting new patents?
You may think that Tesla gave up on getting new patents since Tesla pledged that they’re allowing other companies to use their technologies. However, Tesla is still applying for and getting new patents. Apply for getting new patents does not automatically mean it contradicts their pledge. Patents can serve as a sword and a shield. Although Tesla won’t use its patents to sue others, Tesla can still have patents to protect itself from lawsuits. Nikola Motors has sued Tesla for patent infringement on certain design elements for semi-trucks. The USPTO granted Tesla a design patent in November 2018, which MAY be used to defend against Nikola Motors.
(Ironic that Nikolai is suing Tesla, huh?)
To read more about Tesla’s lawsuit, click here.
To read more about Tesla’s patent, click here.
A company should not be left unguarded
As stated earlier, Tesla has been on the forefront and one of the leading innovators for sophisticated and environmentally friendly tech like electric cars. But should Tesla just give up all of it’s patents and intellectual property? The short and plain answer is: of course not! Intellectual property helps safeguard the assets of a company. Without intellectual property protection, it will be difficult for the company to maintain its place in the market or further grow the company. Other companies are less likely to invest in another company knowing that their assets can be easily appropriated.
Will giving up some of their assets hurt Tesla in the long run?
Although it is mere speculation, Tesla’s move to “give up their patents” will not significantly hurt them in the long run. The first reason why is that Tesla’s patents are still valid. These patents will still provide Tesla protection when needed. Second, Tesla is recognized throughout the world as a reputable and reliable brand. Their cars can be considered high end and high quality. Consumers are still likely to view Tesla the same whether or not they realize that Tesla decided to give up their patents. The last reason is that Tesla continues to be one of the few companies capable of producing profitable and advance technologies in different areas. The diversity helps reduce the risks of putting all of Tesla’s eggs in one basket.
Elon Musk has been a major driving force in the success of Tesla. He has been constantly finding new ways to advance society all over the world in a more environment friendly way. From offering technology for disaster relief to offering his technologies to prevent future tragedies, Elon Musk has not been shy with trying to provide aid. But overall, he’s also a down to Earth guy who enjoys things like memes and anime, which makes him relatable. Even though he’s worth billions and he has produced some of the most advanced technologies to date, Elon Musk seems like a genuinely nice guy.
What are your thoughts on Tesla’s pledge to not sue those who use their technology in good faith?
What about patents being used as a shield in Tesla’s lawsuit against Nikolai Motors? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!
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Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice. It is only for educational or entertainment purposes only. Please do not use the article or contents of the article without permission. For legal advice and questions, please contact registered Patent Attorney Vincent LoTempio.