Tesla is pushing to have the patents of Nikola, a small startup manufacturer of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered semi-truck, invalidated in the latest development of the two manufacturers’ ongoing patent dispute.
Tesla claims that Nickola’s truck design patents are invalid because Nikola failed to mention Adriano Mudri designed some patented features. Tesla also claims those features first appeared on the hydrogen-powered Road Runner truck concept design years earlier.
The basis for the patent dispute
Nikola first sued Tesla in May 2018, claiming Tesla’s electric semi-truck design infringes upon its patents. Nikola is asking for $2 billion in damages in the dispute. Nikola’s suit centers on how similar Tesla’s semi design is to that of Nikola One. Nikola unveiled its truck design a year earlier than Tesla did.
As of April 2020, Nikola had 14,000 orders for its Nikola One electric trucks. Those orders represent about $10,000 billion in future revenue. It plans on selling its hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks to commercial industries because they cost less to operate than diesel-powered trucks.
Patent office already denied one Tesla argument
Tesla already has had one setback in this ongoing dispute though. Earlier this year, the Freemont-based company argued that Nikola’s door patent was invalid. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied that claim in May.
At that time, Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton tweeted that the Phoenix-based startup will continue to defend its intellectual property, no matter how big or influential a competing manufacturer is.
Innovative technology always is important to patent and often becomes the basis of patent disputes. If your company faces a patent dispute, you should consult an intellectual property attorney. An attorney can help your business protect its intellectual property interests.