Tesla freed up its patents. Does anyone care?

EnergyWire, E&E Publishing
June 16, 2014

By David Fer­ris, E&E reporter

Tes­la Motors Inc. seemed to take the high road when it announced last week that it would spur the devel­op­ment of elec­tric cars by open­ing its patents to the com­pe­ti­tion. How­ev­er, most auto-indus­try watch­ers said that it will prob­a­bly do lit­tle to budge the auto indus­try off petroleum.

The swip­ing of some of those patents will serve to but­tress Tes­la’s role as indus­try leader, experts said. Some firms might help build out the over­all charg­ing net­work by using Tes­la’s quick-charg­ing tricks, while oth­ers will adopt bat­tery spec­i­fi­ca­tions that could cre­ate future demand from Tes­la’s “gigafac­to­ry.”

On the oth­er hand, low­er­ing its legal defens­es gives Tes­la lit­tle recourse if Chi­na fig­ures out how to build key tech­nol­o­gy cheap­er and floods the U.S. mar­ket, said Scott Kok­ka, a Sil­i­con Val­ley patent attorney.

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