Patents

Tesla Motors Opens Up Its Patents

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no vroom right?
Tesla Motors

The electric car company Tesla Motors has announced it would allow its patents to be used in good faith and not pursue legal action against those who do use them. Tesla's CEO Elon Musk announced on the company blog:

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.

When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

Musk goes on to explain that Tesla collected patents despite his avowed aversion to them out of a (misplaced, he says) fear that big car companies would squeeze him out of the electric car business. Instead he's found little interest in joining the electric car marketplace.

Another Elon Musk company, SpaceX, apparently holds almost no patents. In that case, Musk said filing patents would be "farcical," as the company's main competitors are in China, he believes "the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book."

More Reason on intellectual property.

h/t Scott F.

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  1. fear anticipation that big car companies would squeeze him out of would be required by the government to go all in on the electric car business.

    FIFY

  2. I’m sure there are patents, but I’m also pretty sure that those aren’t keeping other companies out of the battery car bizz.
    And I’m pretty sure his major product line (government financial instruments) isn’t protected by any patents.

    1. There would be far too much prior art.

      1. “There would be far too much prior art.”

        You’re right. And funny.

  3. You’re welcome Tesla owners.

    Empties wallet.

  4. “the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.”

    Cronyist or not, it’s hard not to like Elon Musk.

  5. Considering the government subsidies for his toy car business, he ought to be allowing the use of those patents.

  6. Why do I have the suspicion there is little money to be made off Tesla’s proprietary tech?

    1. Because you’ve seen Musk ‘operate’?

  7. Choosing trade secrets over patents is not new. At all.

  8. When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

    Restated he says: when I thought patents were good – they were good. But after that, when I thought patents were bad – they were bad.

    Unsaid: If later I think patents are good again, then they will be good.

    1. Well that’s just a silly comment. He didn’t have cause and effect reversed as you claim – he said he had reasons for his opinions, and when faced with differing data he changed his opinions.

      Unstated: provided more data that contradicts currently held beliefs, he will change his beliefs accordingly.

      I’d say that is pretty much exactly how everyone should handle their life. Understand why you believe what you believe and be prepared to change your mind if you are offered better ideas or contradictory information.

  9. I have no idea what “in good faith” means in this context. What would using someone else’s tech in bad faith look like? And what about using it in good faith?

    1. “What would using someone else’s tech in bad faith look like?”

      Whatever Musk deigns it to be!

  10. As long as he gets us to Mars, who cares?

  11. Slam Dunk Momo Says no way dude.

    http://www.WentAnon.tk

  12. What difference does this make? Musk assured me that in 4-5 years we’d be riding in those giant, superfast hydrolic tubes. Or magnetic tubes(I might be confusing it with futurama) plus, doc says that, by 2015, where we’re going, we don’t need roadz

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