Tesla Semi Truck's approved patent drawing

Tesla Semi design patent approval puts Nikola’s $2B lawsuit in deep waters

Sep 15, 2018 | by Iqtidar Ali

Tesla has acquired the design patent (full patent file below) for the Semi Truck design in August — the US Patent Examiner approved the patent on the basis of Tesla Semi Truck’s unique design.

Nikola Motor Company sued Tesla for design copyright infringement in May, alleging that Tesla had stolen their design ideas as Elon Musk saw their Nikola One hydrogen truck before even conceptualizing the Tesla Semi Truck design.

Nikola Motor Company will need to prove to the court that US Patent Examiner has made an error while evaluating the Tesla Semi Truck design for patent approval which is not easy to prove.

Tesla Inc. on the other hand has dismissed Nikola’s lawsuit and a Tesla spokesperson said that “it’s patently obvious there is no merit to (the) lawsuit,”.  Tesla has recently requested that the case be moved to Northern District of California from Arizona where Nikola is based.

Let’s take a look at the Tesla design patent for the Tesla Semi cab:

The design patent document credits Tesla Chief Designer Franz Von Holzhausen, Manager of Exterior Design David Tadashi Imai and Senior Lead Exterior Designer Randy Rodriguez as the inventors of the Tesla Semi Truck design.

Nikola’s lawsuit against Tesla seems even weaker after these design patent approvals and all the negative press coverage is also damaging their reputation as a mission-driven company, rather implying that they need a big excuse for their mistakes and failures.

Tesla Semi Truck in the meantime is getting popular with the customers and electric vehicle enthusiasts as it wanders all over the country to amaze people and secure new orders. Last week Walmart Canada reserved another 30 Tesla Semi Trucks totaling their order to 40 trucks.

A group of investors were recently invited to visit the Gigafactory in Nevada and their analysis suggests that the production of Tesla Semi Truck is strongly expected to begin in 2020.

This means by this time next year we will have more Tesla Semi Trucks spotted in North America as they enter from Alpha Prototype phase to Production-intent Prototype stage, exciting news will be popping up, stay tuned.

Do let us know what you think about the Nikola vs Tesla lawsuit in comments section below.

Iqtidar Ali
[email protected]

Iqtidar Ali is a long time web developer and now writing for his childhood passion 'cars' further boosted by the advent of electric vehicles especially Tesla.

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  • Iqtidar Ali
    Posted at 12:58h, 12 November Reply

    On my LinkedIn feed Kevin Johanson, Intellectual Property Attorney/Registered Patent Attorney at Maschoff Brennan commented the following to explain the legal situation in result to this patent:
    “With all due respect to your interest in US patent law, a patent only grants one the right to exclude others from practicing the claimed scope of the patent, but does not grant one the freedom to operate. Tesla now has a design patent defining their rights to exclude others from implementing certain features covered by Tesla’s design patent, but it doesn’t mean Tesla’s truck may not infringe Nikola’s design patents granting Nikola the rights to exclude others (including Tesla) from implementing the features covered by Nikola’s design patents.
    I enjoyed your article. All the best.”

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