Tesla Motors Inc. has announced yesterday that it will be releasing all its patents for use by the public, with the aim of removing blocks for the industry to advance production of electric vehicles.
In a blog post published on 12 Jun, CEO Elon Musk declared that “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
The move to open-source Tesla’s advancements in electric vehicle technology comes as a surprise, as patents are usually heavily guarded in the automotive industry.
“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” wrote 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.”
“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.”
Musk also shared that when patents were first adopted in Tesla, the fear was that bigger line manufacturers would copy Tesla’s technology, mass produce and market it, and hence undercut the company’s profitability.
“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.”
“Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.”
Pundits have suggested that the move might not be completely altruistic, as Tesla can still benefit from companies adopting their battery technology – a main bug-bear that inhibits the usability of electric vehicles – and then purchase the batteries from the giant battery factories the company plans to develop.
It is not known yet if this release of patents will lead to mass adoption of electric vehicle technology, but Tesla’s performance in the stock markets was barely affected by the announcement, reports indicated.
Musk is also known as the founder of Paypal and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).
Image – screen capture from Tesla Motors Inc. website