Tesla is currently being sued by Nikola Motors for $2 billion over the design of the Tesla Semi, but the automaker has now obtained its own design patents for the electric truck – significantly weakening Nikola’s case.
As we previously reported, Nikola alleged that Tesla’s electric truck design infringes on its existing patents. Specifically, a series of 3 patents that Nikola recently obtained for the design of a few features of their Nikola One truck unveiled in 2016 – a year before Tesla unveiled its own electric truck.
We broke down each of the Nikola’s specific claims in what we believed basically amounted to a patent trolling case in a purely design-based objective way.
On a legal basis, their claim was based on being awarded design patents on their own truck design, but now Tesla has been awarded its own design patents for the Tesla Semi last month – meaning that the designs were judged unique.
The case is still ongoing and in the latest development, Tesla has requested to transfer the case to the Northern District of California, where Tesla is based, from Arizona, where Nikola is based.
Here’s Tesla’s design patent of the overall design of the Tesla Semi cab (Hat tip to Ross Tessien):
In the patent, Tesla Design Chief Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla longtime manager of exterior design David Imai, and Senior Lead Exterior Designer Randy Rodriguez are all credited on the design patent.
Rodriguez, the man behind the Nissan 370Z, Titan and ICON A5 aircraft who Tesla hired in 2016, has been credited as the Lead Exterior Designer of the Tesla Semi.
Here’s an early design sketch of Tesla’s electric truck.
I already explained how disappointed I was with Nikola Motors for suing Tesla over this.
At first, I wasn’t a fan of the company, but they won me over with their insane all-electric UTV and then lost me again with this ridiculous lawsuit.
I think it is clear at this point that they will lose this lawsuit. I hope that they get ahead of it, drop it, and admit that it was a mistake to file it in the first place.
The goal here is to convert some diesel trucking mileage to electric trucking mileage. This lawsuit is not helping with that at all.