Published on July 10th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro2
Tesla Sued For Trademark Infringement In China
July 10th, 2014 by Christopher DeMorro
If you’ve ever wondered what a patent troll (or in this case technically, a trademark troll) looks like, look no further than Zahn Baosheng, a Chinese “businessman” whom in 2009 was granted the trademark to the Tesla name. Zahn sued Tesla Motors, asking an outrageous $32 million for the rights to the Tesla name.
The matter had thought to be settled when China invalidated Zahn’s trademark and granted sole right of the Tesla name to Tesla, which had gone so far as to consider a name change in the Peoples Republic. But Bloomberg reports that this copyright troll has resurfaced to appeal the ruling, asking for $3.9 million in compensation and the immediate closure of Tesla sales and service centers.
For its part, Tesla claims it hasn’t seen any paperwork or been served the lawsuit, and has in good faith tried to purchase the trademark from Zahn twice; once in 2012 for $50,000, and again in 2013 for $300,000. Both times Zahn resisted, and it looked like this patent troll’s greed would go hungry.
Zahn has one last chance to convince officials that he is the rightful owner of the trademark, and that his intentions of building an electric car company are genuine. Considering Tesla has much deeper pockets than this patent troll though, I’d say Tesla is probably going to be just fine.
Image: Zahn Baosheng
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
Own or lease an electric car? Complete out EV Owner/Lessee Survey.