Tesla Motors' Patents Go Open Source

Tesla Motors' Patents Go Open Source

Electric vehicle designer and manufacturer Tesla Motors has opened up its patents to anyone who wants to use its technology "in good faith".

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced today that the electric vehicle company was adopting an open source philosophy towards its patents. Musk hinted at the possibility of opening up some patents earlier this month, when he announced that the company is willing to share its charging and adapter specifications with other companies interested in using its network of superchargers. "Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," says Musk. "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."

"Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters," says Musk. "That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology."

Musk says that at his first company, Zip2, he avoided patents whenever possible. "At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn't have been more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales." Musk hopes that by sharing Tesla Motors' patents, more manufacturers will choose to develop electric cars and join the market. More electric vehicles would help reduce the amount of gasoline fuel used, and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that 27% of the greenhouse gases produced by the US come from transportation.

Tesla Motors produced the first fully electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster. The company's second vehicle is the Model S, a fully electric luxury sedan.

Source: Tesla Motors

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Time to go build an electric car!

Dibs on the names "Thundermobile" and "Lightningcycle".

That's an interesting move.

While being utterly stupid from a commercial point of view, it might really give the overall business a much needed boost. Especially the chinese have a knack for copying existing technology (and before anyone complains about "racism", go visit any major car expo) and tweak it in ways that allow inexpensive mass production.

So yeah, maybe we'll see an increase in asian electrical cars soon.

I think this is the kind of move which is only smart in an emerging market - it's like... the biggest thing that electric cars need to succeed right now is MORE ELECTRIC CARS. More electric cars = more infrastructure to support those cars. So by creating more competition in other electric car makers, he's also creating a larger electric car market in general. Kind of a win-win situation.

"All our patents are belong to you" :)

Can you feel my love for you Tesla? Can you?

I love philanthropy and open source technologies. A lot of good can come out of this. God I hope this will hurt the oil companies. I hope it will bury a few in the very near future. Philanthropic development of technologies is the only way for our species to survive.

Open source "philosophy". Close, but no cigar. They will not sue companies that want to use its technology "in good faith". Whatever that means.

What is means is not right now, but we reserve the right to change our mind at anytime.

So yeah its cool-ish, but do not be mislead. They are only promising not to sue (for now), not actually relinquishing their claim to the patents.

This looks like a rather canny business move and PR move in one. They not only get to be the "good guys" but if they encourage the big auto makers to invest more in electric cars, they should also see increased infrastructure support for those cars and thus for the Tesla series. Right now, the lack of infrastructure is one of the biggest issues holding back electric vehicles in general, and the Tesla specifically.

HBaskerville:
Open source "philosophy". Close, but no cigar. They will not sue companies that want to use its technology "in good faith". Whatever that means.

What is means is not right now, but we reserve the right to change our mind at anytime.

So yeah its cool-ish, but do not be mislead. They are only promising not to sue (for now), not actually relinquishing their claim to the patents.

I think that's only to stop people from using the technology to build a 'Teslar Model Ess' and sell it at half the price. If BMW were to make a new car using this tech and Tesla tried to sue them, BMW would just have to point to this announcement and they'd have a pretty strong defence.

Britpoint:

HBaskerville:
Open source "philosophy". Close, but no cigar. They will not sue companies that want to use its technology "in good faith". Whatever that means.

What is means is not right now, but we reserve the right to change our mind at anytime.

So yeah its cool-ish, but do not be mislead. They are only promising not to sue (for now), not actually relinquishing their claim to the patents.

I think that's only to stop people from using the technology to build a 'Teslar Model Ess' and sell it at half the price. If BMW were to make a new car using this tech and Tesla tried to sue them, BMW would just have to point to this announcement and they'd have a pretty strong defence.

Agreed. As long as people aren't using access to the patents to just straight up rip off their car designs I bet they'll let it go. If people want to use the patent info to explore their own designs and enhancements on existing designs that they would otherwise never be able to explore without paying Tesla large sums of money for not really doing anything, that's a different story all together.

And I like this idea. The reality is that the patent system in the US (and probably other countries) does more to stifle innovation than to actually foster it, so any company choosing to say "go ahead and build on and improve of our designs free of charge," is all right in my book.

You guys do realize that the patents they released for use are ones that have to do with charge stations and adapters right? Not their automotive technology. No open source cars/motors, just 3rd party charge stations. Not philanthropy, wise business strategy- let more people create more ways for people to charge their Tesla-built cars in more places will mean a larger network of charge coverage, meaning people who may not have bought in previous locations will now buy.

This WILL help other EV makers in the industry though, as this will open up the ability to include a tesla-adapter to their vehicle so you can charge using their network, which is the kind of kick-start the EV market needs- a standard use of a somewhat-existing network of high-speed charge stations.

Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

yeah, they better get that in writting and define good faith, because this is basically "you can try and see if we want to sue you or not".

Britpoint:
If BMW were to make a new car using this tech and Tesla tried to sue them, BMW would just have to point to this announcement and they'd have a pretty strong defence.

no. thep atent is still theirs by law and they could sue the shit out of BMW. actually it could be thier plan to get a lot of funding.

Strazdas:

Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

yeah, they better get that in writting and define good faith, because this is basically "you can try and see if we want to sue you or not".

Good Faith is a specific legal term, it's not something that you just define for yourself.

Alterego-X:

Strazdas:

Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

yeah, they better get that in writting and define good faith, because this is basically "you can try and see if we want to sue you or not".

Good Faith is a specific legal term, it's not something that you just define for yourself.

it is a legal term, but i googled and could not find an actual definition of it. they go on about fairness and technicallities but no actual definition.

 

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