All Our Patent Are Belong To You

Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

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 will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

At Tesla, however, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn’t have been more wrong. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn’t burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1% of their total vehicle sales.

At best, the large automakers are producing electric cars with limited range in limited volume. Some produce no zero emission cars at all.

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. 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.

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform. 

Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.

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Comments

pinyo@seatboat.com

I just learnt couple of days back after I watched a video on youtube about Tesla Powerwall, that Tesla let you have their patents to encourage growth of green tech. That is great news. With a little research it led me to this articles

To cut thing short, I am in interested in Tesla patents. How do I get my hand on these patents please? Can anyone help me out please?

rdcover@rogers.com

Hi Everyone. Tesla I commend you so much for the position taken on this whole issue. I want to see so much a cleaner safer environmentally friendly car. I'd really love to see a blog entry on how Tesla is approaching the whole issue of after market recycling of the products produced. The other pondering I'm doing is that when (and I stress when not if) electric cars become available in significant number how can we generate that power. At this point I have little understanding of nuclear energy. to have any significant contribution in views. In the long run its a whole picture approach that is going to win the day. Tesla thank you for keeping the balls rolling. Just something I found helpful in my travels. It's hard to separate the truth from fiction when ignorance plays a role.
http://www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear/issues/nfc/power/new-reactor-types

ronaldo.obem@gm...

All our patent are belong to us, my dear friend Elon.
Ps. sorry for almost a year of delay to answer, in june 11, 2015 you will understand way.
Thank for all !