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Tesla to make patented information public

The electric revolution with regard to cars is about to take a dramatic turn. Indeed, electric motors have paved the way for highly efficient and wildly popular vehicles such as the Toyota PRius, but what automaker Tesla Motors is proposing seeks to change the way the industry will manufacture cars.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Tesla is reportedly making a number of its technology patents available to other automakers. CEO Elon Musk announced that it would  perpetuate the “open source” movement and would not initiate lawsuits against anyone who uses the company’s technology in good faith. The move is based in part on creating demand for Tesla’s batteries and to encourage development of cars that rely on electric engines. 

The move is an unusual one given how patents are so closely guarded and litigated. The litigation between Apple and Samsung is an example of how costly disputes over patents can be.  However, Tesla apparently believes that there are better and noble causes much more worthy than keeping others from using a particular technology.

Musk believes that creating a “network effect” to create further innovation by letting other companies build off the technology that is available instead of following the traditional norms keeping trade secrets and unique technology sacred and charging others for licenses to use it.

Despite the move by Tesla, other companies may not follow this method and may choose to enforce their patents. In these situations, it takes an experienced intellectual property attorney to help companies understand when and if litigation is necessary. 

Source: “Tesla Motors making patents public,” Dana Hull, June 12, 2014

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