Automotive

Elon Musk takes Tesla Motors into open-source territory

Tesla's EV technology is now available to other manufacturers, with Elon Musk's announcement today that the company would not be enforcing its patents
Tesla's EV technology is now available to other manufacturers, with Elon Musk's announcement today that the company would not be enforcing its patents
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The now-gone wall of patents at Tesla's headquarters (Photo: Steve Jurvetson)
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The now-gone wall of patents at Tesla's headquarters (Photo: Steve Jurvetson)
Tesla's EV technology is now available to other manufacturers, with Elon Musk's announcement today that the company would not be enforcing its patents
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Tesla's EV technology is now available to other manufacturers, with Elon Musk's announcement today that the company would not be enforcing its patents

In a gesture that’s as symbolic as it is game-changing for the EV industry, Elon Musk posted on Tesla’s blog this morning that "Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology."

Contending that Tesla’s biggest competitors are not the few other EV manufacturers but actually every gasoline-powered vehicle manufacturer, Musk concludes that Tesla alone is powerless to combat any impending carbon crisis supported by gasoline vehicles.

Arguing that if Tesla’s primary goal is to "accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," yet it presents roadblocks in the form of patent disputes, then the company is acting in bad faith against its stated mission. He suggests that an open-source platform would benefit manufacturers and drivers alike by increasing the pace of EV development.

Musk says he realized the true nature of owning a patent when founding Zip2, and likened acquiring a patent to "[buying] a lottery ticket to a lawsuit." He concludes that technology leadership is not supported by owning and protecting patents, but by attracting and motivating talented engineers.

The now-gone wall of patents at Tesla's headquarters (Photo: Steve Jurvetson)
The now-gone wall of patents at Tesla's headquarters (Photo: Steve Jurvetson)

Tesla Motors had proudly preserved proof of their patents as a wall of plaques in its headquarters, but according to the announcement, the wall has been emptied.

The full text of the announcement is located on Tesla’s blog, linked below.

Source: Tesla Motors

27 comments
Cyberxbx
Wooohooo!!! Finally someone in charge gets it!
Daishi
The Oatmeal did a comic on "Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived" here http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla Tesla was more about advancing technology to benefit everyone rather than technology for the sake of getting rich off of it. He would have approved of this move.
Joseph Kitchin
Ha! musk is a genius realize that he's building a gigantic battery factory that will make tons of CAR batteries relatively cheaply in the US. guess who he's going to sell all those batteries to~~~~
Rutherford Gnarlybone
Bravo Elon. You keep blowing us away and walking your talk in a way that makes other CEOs look shallow and plastic.
Synchro
The coolest bit about the announcement is the blog article's title. The funniest bit is all the comments that don't understand it... Also check out Elon's Twitter response to the media's general lack of comprehension of the same.
HypoTron Man
This is fantastic. Now others should drop their patents and let world world advance faster. Hey! Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Google and Samsung just name a few. Drop all your patents!
Bob809
Elon the Genius, what a guy, what a refreshing idea. I agree with most statements above. This is how humanity progresses. I have always wondered (knowing the obvious answer) why these people working on similar technology can't get together and consequently reduce the shared production costs.
Don Duncan
Looks like a libertarian got to talk with Elon. Patents were invented to encourage innovation. They rely on force to stop someone from employing an idea, even though that person may have thought of it first, or the person holding the patent may have no interest in ever using it for anything except keeping others from using it until they pay him (extortion) or the patent completely relies on other's ideas. Does that sound fair? Does it promote innovation? Patents were supposed to be limited in time. Crony capitalists got the time limits extended. This does not promote technology/industry. Patents are anti-invention, anti-life, and immoral. The sooner they are abolished, the better. In the long run, everyone will benefit.
StWils
The Patent and Trademark act was one of the first laws enacted by Congress after British Americans launched the rebellion against their Good & Proper King. The point was always to encourage improvement in society by encouraging individuals to innovate. Sadly, there are companies and low-life scum patent trolls who only view patents as tools to extort money with. However, by retaining his patents but opening them to broad use Elon has done all of the world a great service. And I sincerely hope his battery factory succeeds brilliantly. Until something better comes along and maybe Elon will develop that as well.
antiguajohn
If I had the choice between an Elon Musk who's open patent move may benefit himself at the same time it benefits other businesses as well as the planet, or choose some business man who keeps his patents locked away to benefit himself and stockholders while screwing the planet ................. well I would take an Elon Musk any day.
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