Tesla Semi rival Nikola's $2B patent infringement lawsuit faces huge roadblock

Discussion in 'In the News' started by simonalvarez0987, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. simonalvarez0987

    simonalvarez0987 Active Member

    Dec 21, 2017
    #1 simonalvarez0987, Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 14, 2018


    Back in May, Tesla rival Nikola Motors filed a patent infringement case against the electric car maker. Nikola’s lawsuit claimed that the Tesla Semi copied several design elements of the Nikola One, the company’s hydrogen-electric sleeper cab that was unveiled in late 2016. Nikola is asking the courts for $2 billion in damages.

    Among the design elements that the Tesla Semi allegedly copied were its wraparound windshield, its mid-entry front door, its front fenders, and the vehicle’s aerodynamic shape. Considering the similarities between the Semi and the Nikola One, the startup noted that it had lost potential customers. The trucking startup also claimed that problems associated with Tesla, such as its “batteries starting fires and its autonomous features causing fatal accidents,” could cause harm to the Nikola brand.

    Tesla, for its part, has largely dismissed Nikola’s $2 billion lawsuit. After news of the patent infringement case emerged, a Tesla spokesperson simply noted that “it’s patently obvious there is no merit to (the) lawsuit,” and during the Q1 2018 earnings call, Elon Musk lightly noted that “fate loves irony,” considering that “Nikola is suing Tesla.”

    While the legitimacy of Nikola Motors’ lawsuit against the Semi’s design is up for question, a patent granted to Tesla last month could very well be a nail in the coffin of the hydrogen-electric truck-maker’s case. On August 14, the US Patent Office awarded Tesla a pair of design patents for the Tesla Semi. Particularly notable was that the examiner from the US Patent Office actually indicated the Nikola One’s design in the design patents of Tesla’s all-electric trucks. As could be seen in the patent, which could be viewed here, the US Patent Office’s examiner deemed the Tesla Semi’s design as unique.

    This is a big blow to Nikola’s case. If Nikola would still prefer to pursue its suit against Tesla, the hydrogen-electric truck startup would have to prove to the courts that the US Patent Examiner committed an error when the Semi and the One’s designs were being compared. Such a feat is very challenging to accomplish.

    While the Nikola revealed the One almost a year earlier than the Semi, Tesla has pretty much caught up with the hydrogen-electric truck maker’s progress. Since its unveiling, the Tesla Semi has been racking up thousands of miles of real-world driving data as it travels across multiple states in the US. Over the past month alone, the Tesla Semi has been spotted visiting the facilities of some of its reservation holders such as J.B. Hunt, UPS, and Ruan Transportation Management Systems. Worm Capital analysts who toured Gigafactory 1 also noted that Tesla is preparing to start producing the Semi “earnestly” in 2020.

    Nikola, for its part, is preparing to unveil its pre-production Nikola Two hydrogen-electric semi truck and hydrogen filling station next April. The event, which is set to be held in Phoenix, AZ, is expected to be invite-only. Nikola aims to build more than 700 hydrogen stations across the United States by 2028.

    Article: Tesla Semi rival Nikola's $2B patent infringement lawsuit faces huge roadblock
  2. JRDM

    JRDM Member

    Feb 12, 2017
    #2 JRDM, Sep 14, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    Anyone's that's confused between the two products is probably confused by a lot of things. Notably, a lot of cars are more similar to each other than this, and this has been true of any era of car too.
  3. J.Taylor

    J.Taylor Active Member

    Feb 13, 2017
    Hydrogen is not the future. We know this because of PHYSICS.
    Tesla said they were going to build trucks in their secret master plan part 2, so another company building something halfway to a battery electric truck is not going to be able to claim any substantial design infringement.
  4. Roy_H

    Roy_H Member

    Jan 12, 2018
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm sure that Nikola knew that their lawsuit had no chance even before they filed. It's all a publicity stunt to get their name recognized as a viable player in the field.

    So those 700 hydrogen stations will cost at least $2M each and IIRC they are supposed to be fueled by sunlight and water, which will significantly increase capital costs but maybe reduce fuel costs in the long term. However, no matter how you cut it, if those same panels producing electricity for electrolysis were used directly to charge batteries it would be far more cost effective. I think Nikola is headed for bankruptcy if they try to sell their hydrogen at a competitive price to electricity. How much more will the trucking industry be willing to pay for the faster fueling H2 provides?
    • Agree Agree x 2

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