Published in Transportation

Nikola sues Tesla

by on03 May 2018

Invoking the name for self-driving trucks

Two firms which invoke the name Nikola Tesla - the inventor of alternating electrical current and pigeon lover are suing each other.

Nikola Motors is a mobility company working on a hydrogen-powered semi truck. Tesla makes fully electric vehicles, and last December unveiled its EV Semi. Nikola Motors is suing Tesla Motors over patent infringements.  Ironic given the problems that Tesla had with Edison.

Nikola claims that Tesla infringes on three of its patents: fuselage design, a wraparound windshield on a semi truck and a mid-entry door. Nikola claims that these design similarities have "caused confusion" among customers and stolen away over $2 billion in business and that if problems arise with Tesla's Semi  - like battery fires or glitches with autonomous driving - they'll be attributed to Nikola.

It would typically look like a patent troll, but this one would appear to have legs. Nikola unveiled its hydrogen-powered semi in December 2016. Elon Musk first showed off the Tesla Semi last December, and if you look at the drawings in Nikola's patents, or compare photos of concept vehicles, you'll see that there are some similarities between the trucks.

Nikola also alleges that Tesla reached out to poach an employee and doesn't hold any patents for its truck design compared to Nikola's half dozen.

It has based the $2 billion in lost business on the amount Tesla's stock price jumped after unveiling the Semi and racking up pre-orders from large commercial customers.

Tesla said that it was "obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit" Nikola Motors said it was simply defending its intellectual property. "The lawsuit speaks for itself."

Last modified on 03 May 2018
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