Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X

Tesla gives its tech to the people as patent law crumbles

ELECTRIC car manufacturer Tesla has handed the patents to its technologies to the public.

In a statement released yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who wanted to use their technology "in good faith".

"Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport.

"If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal."

Tesla's electric cars have been applauded for their performance and technical innovation but sales have been less impressive.

Entire states such as Texas have made it illegal for Tesla to sell their vehicles there as the company refuses to employ the dealership/commission business model that other manufacturers rely on.

The patent move comes amid significant backlash against the system, especially in the United States, where companies like Google, Apple and Samsung have spent enormous sums of money entangled in patent litigation.

Companies this size have gradually adopted a 'wide strategy' around patent litigation, as the Harvard Business Review calls it, where patent wars were started for the massive amounts of free advertising space given by headlines as they were for protecting technologies.

Patents have also suffered after the advent of 'patent trolls', legal firms and companies whose sole or primary purpose is to obtain patents and sue others for a profit, despite not actually manufacturing or producing products protected by the patent.

According to the US National Economic Council, patent troll lawsuits in the US have tripled in the last two years and now account for 69% of all infringement suits.

While the patent system begins to flex and bend under its own weight, Tesla's situation is pointing to a completely different way that innovation is being held back by overbearing IP law.

"Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis," Musk said.

"By the same token, it means the market is enormous.

"Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world's factories every day."