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Nikola holds on to its lawsuit against Tesla because that’s all it’s got

Nikola managed to barely hold on to its $2 billion lawsuit against Tesla over the design of its electric truck. The company’s stock went up 5% on the news as Nikola’s prospects are more and more limited following several controversies.

As we previously reported, Nikola alleged that Tesla’s electric truck design infringes on its existing patents. Specifically, a series of three design patents that Nikola obtained for the design of its Nikola One truck that was unveiled in 2016 – a year before Tesla unveiled its own electric truck.

Nikola was asking for $2 billion in damages from Tesla in the lawsuit.

Earlier this month, we reported on the court shelving the case and considering dismissing it because Nikola stopped responding to court requests.

They gave the company until October 6 to explain why they shouldn’t dismiss the case, and Nikola has apparently done it – though not impressively.

The court (first reported by the Verge) said:

“Nikola’s ostensible reasons for not responding to the Court’s orders are not particularly compelling. The case will not be dismissed at this time for failure to prosecute, but that may change if Nikola does not move this case forward to resolution in an efficient and timely manner.”

Nikola’s stock went up 6% on the news that the lawsuit against Tesla lives.

The court is asking Nikola to walk the court through the technologies they claim Tesla stole and the scope of the patents the company claims were infringed.

Over the last year, Nikola has run into a lot of other issues unrelated to Tesla. Last year, Nikola was in hot water after a report from Hindenburg Research made several allegations exposing deception by Nikola and its founder Trevor Milton, including several claims corroborated in previous reports from Electrek and Bloomberg.

Nikola issued a response to those claims, but as we reported, the response lacked any rebuttal of the main allegations of deception by the company and its founder, Milton.

The most damning claim was that it faked the first video of its hydrogen truck driving. The company even admitted to it, without issuing an apology, and instead claimed its deception was fine due to a technicality. Milton ended up leaving the company as the pressure started to increase.

In July, Milton was officially charged with three counts of criminal fraud over false claims he made about the company.

Electrek’s Take

I’ve said it since the beginning of this case: it’s patent trolling.

Nikola’s claims against Tesla are ridiculous. Nikola claimed Tesla copied the fuselage based on the general shapes of the trucks being similar.

If you are going for the best aerodynamic performance possible, the shapes are going to look similar. That’s why most cars look similar shape-wise.

The two claims are related to a mid-entry door and a wrapped windshield.

Those claims are even more ridiculous since those design concepts have been around for decades before Nikola existed:

To claim them and then sue someone for having similar features is patent trolling.

The fact that Nikola’s stock went up by almost 6% after the news that the lawsuit is still alive shows that the company doesn’t have much going on if holding on to those weak claims can move the stock like that.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

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