Tesla Sued by Nikola Motor for $2 Billion on Patent Infringement

May 03, 2018, 09:31
Tesla Sued by Nikola Motor for $2 Billion on Patent Infringement

Startup truck company Nikola Motors has hit Tesla with a $2 billion lawsuit accusing it of patent infringement.

As some background here for those unfamiliar with the situation, Nikola Motor Company revealed plans to release hydrogen fuel cell powered electric semi trucks quite a while back, before Tesla's all-electric semi truck plans were announced.

Now as to the patents at issue, the suit cites six design patents which cover Nikola's wrap-around windshield, a mid-entry door, along with design patents that encompass the fuselage, fender, side cladding, and "the overall design of a semi".

Nikola said it sent a letter to Tesla after becoming aware of the design similarities, demanding it not unveil its semi until the infringement had been resolved. Most recently, Nikola claimed in April that, while it has over $8 billion in preorders for the different versions of its semi trucks, all those reservations will "be refunded 100%" and the startup "won't use your money to operate our business" - statements that appear to be obvious barbs at Tesla, which holds almost $1 billion in customer deposits for the Model 3 and other various announced products, according to recent filings.

Nikola filed for its patents in December 2015 and announced in May 2016 that it was designing and meant to build an electric Class 8 truck.

They might be able to share the first and last name of the famed inventor, however there's plenty of bad blood between Nikola and Tesla.

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Nikola is now moving its headquarters from Salt Lake City to Arizona, where it will spend $1 billion on a 1-million-square-foot factory. Tesla rejected Nikola's claims. Upon information and belief, Tesla's market value jumped by roughly $2 billion after the Semi unveiling.

Nikola said it attempted to communicate with Tesla days before the California company unveiled the Semi, asking that the debut event be canceled. By August 2016, Nikola said it had more than 300 orders totalling over 7,000 trucks-a value of $2.3 billion. "Further, any problems with the Tesla Semi will be attributed to the Nikola One, causing hart to the Nikola brand", reads a statement from Nikola's court filing. As per the allegations of Nikola, The electric vehicle making company has copied the patents in creating its own electric trucks.

Neither Nikola nor Tesla has delivered a semi truck to a customer yet.

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