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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public 211

Posted by timothy
from the your-good-news-of-the-day dept.
mknewman (557587) writes with a welcome followup to the broad hints that Tesla might release some of its patents for others to use patents that it has amassed. Now, Elon Musk writes on the company's blog: 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.
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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public

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  • Trust but verify (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cunniff (264218) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:40PM (#47223609) Homepage

    If I were personally going to use one of Tesla's patents in my business, I'd want a signed zero-cost GPL-like license agreement with Tesla. For example, Musk's good will is nice, but what if someone else were to acquire Tesla's IP?

    • by Lumpio- (986581)
      Then you'd need a clause in the contract that binds Tesla to come up with a way to hold up their promise even in the case that they decide to sell.
    • Re:Trust but verify (Score:4, Interesting)

      by thaylin (555395) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:43PM (#47223651)

      Well the blog post is really all they need now. he is the CEO of the company, which means what he writes there is what it is. If they sue now there will be some massive fees for them..

      The question I would have though is what it means to be in good faith...

      • Re:Trust but verify (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TWX (665546) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:02PM (#47223839)

        The question I would have though is what it means to be in good faith...

        Bingo.

        If I had any real forward momentum with an electric car design that might use something patented by Tesla, I'd approach them to get a formal agreement, even if it's just a rubber-stamp formality. The tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer costs to ensure that millions of dollars in lawsuits are avoided would be worthwhile.

        It is worthy to note that automakers have released patents before. Volvo invented the three-point seatbelt that has become the ubiquitous seatbelt today, and they felt that it was so important that they released their patent early specifically so that other automakers could make their cars safer.

        I kind of also expect that Tesla has something new, so these patents aren't all that important to protect their business, as their new thing will probably blow the doors off of the current stuff.

        • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:25PM (#47224029)

          I kind of also expect that Tesla has something new, so these patents aren't all that important to protect their business, as their new thing will probably blow the doors off of the current stuff.

          It rather reads as a new policy with regard to all patents, existing and future. So your expectation doesn't seem likely.

        • A clearer statement than "we took our plaques off our wall" is needed, but assuming there is a clear statement from Tesla that they will only use these patents defensively, anyone who takes them at their word should be safe.

          Telsa should have the CEO publicly post such a statement where Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. This will be quickly picked up by tech blogs and linked to the statement.

          • by Dahamma (304068)

            Telsa should have the CEO publicly post such a statement where Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. This will be quickly picked up by tech blogs and linked to the statement.

            I can't tell if this is sarcasm or not... because it's EXACTLY WHAT THE LINKED BLOG POST IS. And in fact, that's exactly what Slashdot just did...

        • Patents are all bullshit. I recommend going back to a completely patent free trade secret world. If someone reverse engineers your stuff, so be it. Patents are yet another limit on the freedom of do whatever you want as long as it does not hurt the children. It's like somebody is gonna patent having a job.
        • Re:Trust but verify (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dahamma (304068) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @09:05PM (#47226769)

          They don't really need something "new", because what they already have is a completely new mindset for a car company. They are so far ahead of the established old-thought auto makers in so many areas that it would take the rest of them a complete overhaul of their entire executive staff, middle management, engineer and design teams, factories, etc, to get close.

          Not to mention they are profitable and make an $80k+ niche car that has been backordered since well before it was ever released. At some level it's like Ferrari saying "ok, we are releasing the patents behind our $1M supercar" - the market is so specialized it wouldn't matter, and Ferrari's demand so outstrips their supply you basically have to get permission from Ferrari to even buy one [carsguide.com.au].

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Well the blog post is really all they need now. he is the CEO of the company, which means what he writes there is what it is.

        No, the problem happens if someone comes in and buys Tesla out from under him.

        The ownership of those patents is now the people who own Tesla. They may see things differently.

        So, Musk can say all this all he wants, and it amounts to "while I'm CEO". But unless there is something which is legally binding, someone else could change their mind.

        This sounds like a nice promise, and a well

        • by thaylin (555395) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:15PM (#47223951)
          Well that is one of the things that SCO failed on in court so I am fairly certain you are incorrect. This gives the other company an affirmative defense.
          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Well that is one of the things that SCO failed on in court so I am fairly certain you are incorrect.

            I certainly hope so, but the tinfoil hat certainly skews my perceptions a little. ;-)

        • by Bengie (1121981) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:04PM (#47224769)
          A change in ownership doesn't change the fact that the "company" stated they won't sue over certain patents. I can't invite you over, then bet you with a baseball bat, claiming self defense against a trespasser.
          • But what about a change in ownership of the patents? Company A goes bankrupt, company B buys the patent portfolio from the bankruptcy liquidation sale. To what extent is company A's agreement binding upon company B?
            • by Dahamma (304068)

              If there was a written agreement/contract or patent license (which I assume there will be, and it will also include very specific clauses about indemnifying Tesla against any lawsuits of the licensee) then it doesn't matter.

              And despite the casual tone of Musk's post, Tesla is a large public company and still beholden to shareholders, etc. They will undoubtedly get the lawyers involved to make sure things go as planned. This isn't the first time a company has done this (or similarly, multiple companies hav

      • Well the blog post is really all they need now. he is the CEO of the company, which means what he writes there is what it is. If they sue now there will be some massive fees for them..

        The question I would have though is what it means to be in good faith...

        And when your company builds its entire product line on Tesla patents... it'll be 5 to 10 years until you have a product. Tesla cars end up causing cancer or something so they go bankrupt and Apple buys up their patents as part of their bankruptcy... You wont even have to wait for the Apple lawsuit. Your stock will tank and you'll be out of business long before that.

      • by DM9290 (797337)

        Well the blog post is really all they need now. he is the CEO of the company, which means what he writes there is what it is. If they sue now there will be some massive fees for them..

        The question I would have though is what it means to be in good faith...

        'good faith' is a legal term that is understood by courts. It is no more vague than "causing a public nuisance".

        good faith: building and selling your own standards compliant electric cars for profit.
        good faith: trying to build or design an improved version of the electric car based on tesla's technology.
        good faith: making a standards compliant legal cell phone with a longer battery life.

        not good faith : using the patents to operate a mobile meth lab.
        not good faith: building substandard cars that have a 50%

        • by Dahamma (304068)

          And most importantly...

          not good faith: using our patents and then trying to sue us for infringing yours.

          They aren't going to give up their defensive position, they are basically just promising not to sue if they are not sued.

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      If I were personally going to use one of Tesla's patents in my business, I'd want a signed zero-cost GPL-like license agreement with Tesla. For example, Musk's good will is nice, but what if someone else were to acquire Tesla's IP?

      To that end, "good faith" doesn't have a history in patent law; he could take anyone who was using the patents to seriously compete or encroach on Tesla's existing market share as lacking it, and there would be no recourse.

    • Re:Trust but verify (Score:5, Informative)

      by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:05PM (#47223861) Homepage Journal

      If I were personally going to use one of Tesla's patents in my business, I'd want a signed zero-cost GPL-like license agreement with Tesla. For example, Musk's good will is nice, but what if someone else were to acquire Tesla's IP?

      It wouldn't matter, I don't think. A clearer statement than "we took our plaques off our wall" is needed, but assuming there is a clear statement from Tesla that they will only use these patents defensively, anyone who takes them at their word should be safe.

      Why? There's a legal concept called "promissory estoppel". In a nutshell, it means that if I make you a promise and you, in good faith, depend upon that promise and build your business on it, and I knew or should have known that you were going to do so, then I can't later change my mind, withdraw my promise and sue you for doing what I said you could do.

      • Re:Trust but verify (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SlaveToTheGrind (546262) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @02:49PM (#47224651)

        You're fully correct about the legal doctrine, but in reality there's a non-zero chance that it will cost you a very large number of dollars to defend a patent lawsuit filed by a future assignee who convinces the judge that even the "clearer statement" (1) wasn't so clear and/or (2) didn't apply to your particular use.

        There's actually a simple way that Tesla could make this binding -- formally disclaim the rest of the term of the patents at the Patent Office [uspto.gov].

        37 C.F.R. 1.321 Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.
        (a) A patentee owning the whole or any sectional interest in a patent may disclaim any complete claim or claims in a patent. In like manner any patentee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted. Such disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. A notice of the disclaimer is published in the Official Gazette and attached to the printed copies of the specification.

        It will be interesting to see if they actually go that far.

        • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:04PM (#47224771)

          That would defeat their ability to use the patents defensively. For example, Toyota coming after them for violating some Prius patent.

          • True enough, but if they're going to keep the patents in force then in my opinion this amounts to little more than a publicity stunt. If and when I can get from them on demand a fully-paid-up license to their entire portfolio for $1 so I have actual, legal, freedom to operate, I'll take this more seriously.

            • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday June 12, 2014 @03:20PM (#47224867) Homepage Journal

              There is a middle ground. They could issue a zero-cost, binding, globally-applicable patent license with an exception that withdraws the license from anyone who sues them. This is actually pretty common, and I think it would be a much better choice than placing the patents in the public domain.

              I expect something like that will be forthcoming. So far all we have is a blog post; I imagine the more substantive version from the legal department is in progress.

              • If you know of any examples of such a pledge being tested and enforced by a court, I'd appreciate seeing them. My understanding is that while the practice is somewhat in vogue recently, it's still very much a no-man's-land in terms of future certainty. For example, does the promise only apply to the initial promisor, or is the patent itself permanently impaired and future assignees take subject to that impairment? The last few years of litigation in the somewhat parallel area of licensing commitments to

                • by swillden (191260)

                  I don't know of any challenges, but the principle in question seems nearly identical to the copyleft notion underlying the GPL -- a notion that went untested in court for a very long time because, basically, every attorney that looked at it decided it wasn't worth fighting. As for whether an assignee is obligated to honor the license, I can't see how they could possibly avoid it, particularly if the license states that it's irrevocable (excepting its exceptions). I'm not aware of any purchaser of a patent w

                  • I don't know of any challenges, but the principle in question seems nearly identical to the copyleft notion underlying the GPL -- a notion that went untested in court for a very long time because, basically, every attorney that looked at it decided it wasn't worth fighting.

                    At least some manufacturers of electric cars presumably will have more money splashing around than open-source software developers, and thus will be more attractive targets. Beyond that, I'd be careful analogizing very much at all between copyrights and patents -- they're two entirely separate bodies of law.

                    I'm not aware of any purchaser of a patent who has successfully argued that they can revoke a licensing commitment to a standards body, either. It seems to me that the precedent is rather firmly established.

                    It all depends on what you mean by "successfully argued." The real-world question is not whether an argument will ultimately carry the day at trial, but how much money you're going to spend either (1)

      • Why? There's a legal concept called "promissory estoppel". In a nutshell, it means that if I make you a promise and you, in good faith, depend upon that promise and build your business on it, and I knew or should have known that you were going to do so, then I can't later change my mind, withdraw my promise and sue you for doing what I said you could do.

        Disclaimer: IANAL

        Yes, it appears that "promissory estoppel" can create an implied contract, but it's not at all clear to me that a press release mee

    • For example, Musk's good will is nice, but what if someone else were to acquire Tesla's IP?

      IANAL, but I believe that if you have a license to use intellectual property, and the owner of the IP is acquired, the license would still be valid. For example, if you hold the copyright to a song and I pay you $10k to license that song in a movie, and then you sold the copyright to that song, the new owner can't turn around sue me for using the song in my movie. I believe the same thing holds for patents.

      So the question is, can Tesla's promise not to sue be construed as a "license". I believe that if

      • by vux984 (928602)

        For example, if you hold the copyright to a song and I pay you $10k to license that song in a movie, and then you sold the copyright to that song, the new owner can't turn around sue me for using the song in my movie.

        All true. However, you might not be able to continue to sell copies of that movie.

        It recently happened on GoG and Steam just recently for example; they each had a licenses to sell Fallout; Bethesda got rights to all the Fallout IP from Interplay, and Steam and GoG had to remove the games from

        • All true. However, you might not be able to continue to sell copies of that movie.

          It recently happened on GoG and Steam just recently for example; they each had a licenses to sell Fallout; Bethesda got rights to all the Fallout IP from Interplay, and Steam and GoG had to remove the games from the catalog; at least until they get a new licensing deal from Bethesda (which may or may not happen).

          You're confusing different things. GOG and Steam are stores. If I make a movie, and then I sell the copyright to that movie, the new copyright holder can pull copies of that movie from store shelves, depending on the distribution deals they have with the stores that carry it. However, if I've sold a license to HBO to show that movie for the next year, the new copyright holder can't simply pull the movie from HBO.

          You'll also see it with movies etc where it gets REALLY stupid, where the company that holds the rights to the movie can't make a DVD release because they only have the rights to soundtrack/music for VHS. (Which is one reason you'll sometimes see a DVD release with an altered soundtrack)

          But that's not because the company that holds the rights to the music was allowed to revoke t

    • by steelfood (895457)

      To avoid lawsuits, big companies will probably still want a contract signed before using the patented technology on purpose. The smaller players won't be able to ask for something signed, but they also will be less likely to worry about lawsuits, and they are sufficiently covered by Musk's public official blog post.

      No good deed will go unpunished though. Saying "no strings attached" is practically asking for people to look for the strings, and then make imaginary ones up when they can't be found.

    • This is a very good point and excellent support for your point is the experience Google had with Sun Microsystems and now Oracle regarding the Android/Java technology. Last I heard Oracle had won the argument that an API is copyrightable in front of a judge and that Google owes them money; it must be in appeal because I didn't recall hearing that Google actually paid out yet. A key difference, of course, is that this is patents and Oracle was mostly arguing copyright I believe. And I believe Google's main d
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:42PM (#47223625)
    This guy really is the most devious and evil of all of Ian Flemming's villains.
  • by ramorim (1257654) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:49PM (#47223703) Homepage Journal
    This is called the real source of innovation: open source, open knowledge. Comparatively speaking: If the C programming language were closed source, companies like Apple would never be what it is today. Or even the actual jump in technology our society leaped. Maybe, with this action, Tesla can not only open a path for innovation, standardization, but most important (for them) they will be able to grow faster and faster technologically and in the market.
  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by meta-monkey (321000) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:52PM (#47223729) Journal

    Now, I don't wanna do anything gay or nothin', but I kinda wanna make love to this man.

  • Thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:54PM (#47223759) Journal

    Thank you Elon Musk.

    If only every other CEO had the same courage. Also, if he's willing to do this for SpaceX, I have no problems with a private company doign space exporation.

    • If only I had mod points :(

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      I don't think it has anything to do with courage. Businesses have to be able to leverage the patent to repay R&D cost. I know not all patents fall under this category but many do.

      Tesla is niche enough that they can afford to do it because it won't prevent them from recovering their R&D cost. But not all products or business models allow for easy return on R&D investments.

    • Re: Thanks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Guspaz (556486) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:23PM (#47224017)

      SpaceX doesn't have any patents to give away (or at least not many). This was intentional, because the entities most likely to violate the patents wouldn't be bound by them (certain countries). Getting a patent requires publishing the details, and all that does for a country that ignores patents is make it easier to copy.

    • Re:Thanks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbhacking (979169) <been_out_cruisin ... y a h o o . com> on Thursday June 12, 2014 @02:23PM (#47224469) Homepage Journal

      Tesla and SpaceX are currently in very, very different markets. Tesla is selling luxury consumer products, and trying to get the economies of scale + technical innovation to start selling non-luxury consumer products, where the real market is. They are also competing against an entrenched, widely-deployed technology that has been in widespread use for longer than 99.9% of the human race has been alive. They need their product to become more than a niche, and they need to have viable competition if for no other reason than for the legitimacy that competition brings.

      SpaceX sells cheap, high-tech rocket launches, where cheap means something like what a "cheap" computer in the 50s would mean: governments and really big organizations can afford to buy them, and nobody else is even going to consider it. In a way, they're the opposite of Tesla: rather than being a luxury brand trying to get cheaper, they're aiming to be the cheap alternative to the existing competition.

      Unlike Tesla, SpaceX is not publicly traded and does not file for patents. Patents provide no meaningful protection against the Chinese or Russian governments, which are the organizations SpaceX is most interested in competing with. SpaceX patenting their stuff would allow those entities to undercut SpaceX for the small number of customers that even exist in such a space, because they could use the disclosed technology without needing to recoup R&D investments or pay California salaries and regulatory costs.

      The problem is that SpaceX is the only organization in the world currently demonstrating great success in disrupting the entrenched space launch market, and they need to (and do) re-invest their profits from those launches into producing still-better (cheaper) launchers if the want to achieve their stated goals of making space access cheap enough that actual human beings can afford it. They can't afford to be undercut, because there just aren't enough customers right now for them to afford to do other than fight for every purchase they can get. Tesla can totally afford to be undercut; it will help grow their market (electric car owners) and meanwhile there will always be people who will buy their cars just because the market is big enough.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695)

        start selling non-luxury consumer products, where the real market is

        You should tell that to Apple. Maybe they'll start selling low end devices. It's working out so great for HP, Samsung, HTC, Dell, and all the other device manufacturers. Oh. wait, it isn't. Apple is raking in tons of profits selling only high end devices, while all the other device manufacturers are fighting for the bottom of the market trying to figure out how to make a buck off people who don't want to spend money.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Meyaht (2729603)
          In this context I personally would hesitate to call Apple (luxury in your case) vs Samsung (non-luxury) a viable retort to a Tesla vs say a last year's Honda Civic. (I have a galaxy s4 mini, which I would easily compare to last year's civic.) Pretty much any high school grad auto mechanic can have an iPhone. Pretty much anyone *but* a top earner or someone in their 50's can afford the Tesla. Thoughts?
          • by fnj (64210)

            Unless I am mistaken, the cost of an iPhone 5S and a Samsung Galaxy S 5 are very comparable. Why is one a luxury product and the other non-luxury?

  • by Bradmont (513167) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:56PM (#47223767)
    It would be amazing if he added a share-alike clause to licensing these patents. That is to say, make it free to use any of Tesla's patents, under the condition that you provide the same free access, under the same conditions, to any technology your company develops as a derivitave.
    • by Immerman (2627577)

      I'm not sure that would be aligned with his stated goals - to encourage the production of electric vehicles. Auto companies aren't exactly bastions of open source, and look how long it took tech companies to start getting on board with share-alike licenses. Musk strikes me as the sort who dreams big - and whether his goal is to combat climate change or drum up business for his automotive battery gigafactory, a BSD-style license is likely more productive.

      That said, I don't believe using the patents "in goo

  • Briliant move (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trachman (3499895) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:58PM (#47223793)
    The easy way for Tesla to reaffirm their commitment to open source and innovation is to, specifically, allow those patents in question lapse by not to paying renewal fee. So how exactly shareholders will react? Old fashioned approach is that more competition is not good for the entity. However, Tesla realizes that freedom and liberty to create is so much more powerful, that additional entrants to the electric car industry will expand the infrastructure required to charge the cars, and, eventually, Tesla will win not by competing with others but by working and partnering with others. Remover restrictions, think outside the box and let others do the same, share success and support others and very soon you will see that everyone around you, including yourself, are incredibly successful and prosperous.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday June 12, 2014 @12:58PM (#47223795) Homepage
    Tesla is a publicly-owned company. Couldn't the shareholders bring a suit against the company's directors for basically giving asssets away for free? The claim "I did it to create an ecosystem that might bring profit in the future" might not go over in court.
    • The directors are the shareholders. Common stock owners are irrelevant.
    • You could, but it would be a VERY tough suit to win. Boards get a lot of discretion under the business judgment rule.

    • If such were the case, Google surely would have been sued to the brink by its shareholders by now.

      • by ccb621 (936868)
        Sergey, Larry, and Eric own most of the voting shares of Google. Most of the shares floating on the market either have few votes or none at all.
    • by Salgat (1098063)
      It'd be trivial to argue that doing this would promote more adoption of electric cars, easing Tesla's entry into the automobile market.
    • by ccb621 (936868) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @02:08PM (#47224375) Homepage
      Elon Musk owns about 23% of Tesla stock (http://business.time.com/2014/02/26/elon-musk-1-1-billion-tesla-tuesday/) and the board of directors probably owns another significant stake. The rest of the shareholders, myself included, don't have much of a voice. Honestly, I am fine with this. I don't know anything about running a car company or building electric vehicles, and I doubt the company leadership would do anything to lose their own money. Tesla is one of the few companies I trust because their motives have always seemed altruistic (aside from the obvious capitalistic qualities of any corporation).
      • by Splab (574204)

        Also, what most slashdotters seems to have missed, this is a good business decision - Elon knows that he is going to face competition from the major players in the car market - by opening up his patents on charging, he is gaming that the next batch of cars will support the system *his* cars are using.

        By being the defacto standard, he can ensure his customers will have access to charging stations, when the big guns starts putting them up around the world - if a competing standard is chosen, the Tesla might f

    • As a shareholder, I fully welcome this move. This shows that Tesla is so confident that they will continue to dominate the electric car industry that they don't even have to stop others from trying. That kind of confidence goes a long way to securing business deals with companies who might otherwise hesitate to jump into bed with a company that is still relatively new in a market that is only just starting to emerge.
    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      How much of that stock is owned by Musk himself?

  • Don't patents have a 'must defend' clause in them for them to continue to be valid?
    By doing this, instead of (say) licencing them at a dollar per, haven't they invalidated their own patents and made them able to be used
    by anyone - including those not in good faith?

    • by gQuigs (913879)

      I believe you are thinking of Trademarks.

    • They absolutely do not. Trademarks do.

    • by aitikin (909209)
      You're thinking trademark. Pretty sure patents do not have a "must defend" clause. In trademark, it will be invalidated if you don't stay on it and pursue anyone misusing it (Kleenex will come down on any magazine/newspaper they see that doesn't put after their trademark because if they don't, they can lose that trademark).
  • by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:07PM (#47223873)

    This press release is all fine and good, but what does the qualifier "In Good Faith" mean?

    Until Tesla provides a license with the legal verbiage that describes "In Good Faith" I'm not so ready to start the celebrations. Without a license to use the patent, you are stupid to knowingly infringe on it, regardless of what some CEO says in a press release.

    • by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:39PM (#47224149) Journal

      Good faith is a legal concept often addressed in court. Some opposite concepts are bad faith and negligence. All of these center around the beliefs of a rational person: if a rational person with appropriate qualifications (i.e. your engineers did X, would an engineer know the implications of X?) would understand the consequences of an action, then you are held to that understanding. If you act such that you should know the outcome is harmful and contrary to what would be considered good faith, you are acting in bad faith.

      An example of bad faith would be production of sub-quality components with a staff of engineers who understand the limits of such components. If you built chargers with 14ga wire to carry 20A currant, using aluminum core wire with extremely thin electroplating, those chargers would degrade quickly. If you are doing so and then marketing heavily in areas trafficked heavily by Tesla cars, we can reasonably assume you are committing sabotage: these chargers will quickly degrade, causing charging issues and damaging Tesla's image. If you release your own charger architecture of better quality, the evidence reinforces this: Why would you use 12ga full copper wire for 20A chargers of your design, but 14ga aluminum core for 20A of Tesla's design?

      Evidence of ulterior motives and willful negligence constitute bad faith.

  • Right now they have virtually zero real competition. On the other side, many people are still afraid of electric cars for one reason or another. And by helping the market expand, it will help their own brand succeed too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bobbied (2522392)

      many people are still afraid of electric cars for one reason or another.

      I'm not afraid of them, they just do not suit my daily driving needs and their TCO is still higher than the standard gasoline fueled cars available. It's not about fear, but economics and how impractical they are in practice. I need a car that can reliably go 200 miles at 30 - 70 MPH on a hot day without recharging, carry 4 comfortably and has a TCO that compares to the used Honda Accord I have now. Right now, such electric cars don't exist, or they are hugely expensive.

  • Is There A List? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @01:20PM (#47223997) Homepage Journal

    Read through the blog post, didn't see a link or listing of the patents that they've 'open-sourced.'

    Anybody know where to find them? I'm curious.

  • This is a great move by Tesla and I hope that more companies follow suit.

    Now - how about releasing the source code to owners for GPL software and derivatives you ship in your vehicles?

    So far I am not aware of any owners who have been successful in getting access to that code.

  • by BradMajors (995624)

    It seems it is possible, for example, for GM to build charging stations using Tesla's patents and then only allow GM cars and prohibit any Tesla cars from using the charging stations.

    • Sure. But that doesn't put Tesla in an worse a position, given that GM don't have any charging infrastructure for Tesla drivers to use now.

  • His past... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mycroft16 (848585) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @02:45PM (#47224627)
    It should be noted that Elon Musk has degrees in economics and physics as well as real world experience in the software field (PayPal) as well as engineering and business (SpaceX/Tesla). The man is incredibly intelligent and seems to really understand how things work. I'm willing to bet this decision wasn't made without the board. I'm sure Wall St won't like it and stocks may fall, but this is the correct decision. Musk is doing what many businesses don't seem to understand these days, playing the long game rather than the short game. He may lose a little in the short term, but long term, Tesla comes out a huge winner an brings up a whole lot of other winners with them. There's a good chance he explained all this to the board, and given their about to start battery production, they realized that they stand to have a huge revenue stream if they jump start the electric car industry in this way.
    • Re:His past... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @06:31PM (#47226019) Journal
      The guy reminds me of Henry Ford who (against all prevailing business wisdom) famously instituted a 40hr week at his factories only to see productivity skyrocket. Forceful, erratic, unapologetic, and willing to act "out of the box" rather than just think about it, that can be dangerous in a CEO, but it's mandatory if you want to want to build something like Ford from the bottom up.
  • Start making... http://stks.freshpatents.com/T... [freshpatents.com]

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