CEO of Tesla Motors says the company will not sue anyone for using its proprietary technologies
CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk has offered all of the company’s patents to the global community, “in the spirit of the open source movement”.
He hopes this gift will help advance the electric vehicle market, which has been neglected by the traditional car manufacturers.
“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,” said Musk in a post on the Tesla blog.
Worthy of the name
Tesla Motors succeeded where others failed, by building an electric vehicle that appeals to the traditional car enthusiast – something that is especially challenging in the US, where manufacturers often adopt the “bigger is better” design philosophy. So it’s highly unusual that the company has decided to give away its proprietary technology for free.
In his post, Musk reminisced about his days at Zip2, the media firm he started with his brother in 1995, a time when he thought patents were meant to protect innovators. In contrast, today he is convinced they serve “merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors”.
Musk said that in the early days, Tesla filed for patents in order to protect itself from large corporations which could steal the company’s ideas and then overwhelm it with their financial muscle.
He now admits that this approach was wrong – it turns out that despite Tesla’s success, traditional car manufacturers have little interest in electric vehicles.
“Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately two billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous.
“Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.”
In other words, giving away the patents should have little impact on Tesla’s bottom line. Experts suggest that the company might be planning to supply some of the parrtners who decide to use its patents with equipment such as batteries, further increasing its quite healthy revenues.
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