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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