CEO Tesla Motors Recently “Donated” A Portion Of Tesla’s Patents To The Public
Elon Musk, the CEO Tesla Motors, recently “donated” a portion of Tesla’s patents to the public. In a blog post on teslamotors.com, located here, Musk stated that Tesla would not initiate a lawsuit against anyone for using these patents in good faith.
This is commendable as well as a smart business move that motivates the industry to both create more electric cars and to increase innovation. As more electric cars are built by more companies and more electric cars are on the road, more charging stations will be built. With greater adoption, Tesla Motors will see more demand.
In addition, innovation in the art will increase as R&D departments can spend resources on furthering the technology instead of finding ways around existing patents.
From a practical standard, Musk’s blog entry stating that infringers will not be pursued isn’t extremely comforting. One’s typed word is not biding. Alternatively, Musk and Tesla Motors could have disclaimed or dedicated the patents to the public per 35 U.S.C 253(b), thereby eliminating any possibility to enforce the intellectual property rights contained therein.
The problem with this direction is that other inventors can file patents for the very same technology, thereby precluding one from not only seeking patent protection, but also from practicing their inventions. It is always a smarter move to file the patent applications as soon as possible. If, after the patent grants, the open-source philosophy prevails, one can always dedicate the patent to the public, thereby putting the intellectual property beyond anyone’s exclusive control.