Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday that Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who wants to use Tesla’s patents.
Let me repeat that.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday that Tesla WILL NOT INITIATE PATENT LAWSUITS AGAINST ANYONE WHO WANTS TO USE TESLA’S PATENTS.
In other words: any carmaker that wants to use Tesla’s patented technology to make righteously awesome electric cars can do exactly that.
They are still retaining the patents, though, so anyone who abuses this generosity for evil purposes can still be stopped through legal action. But basically, they’re giving them away for all other car manufacturers.
Why? To save the world, of course.
A Hero’s Journey
In the early days of Tesla, it was easy to assume they’d fail, just like so many other electric car startups. The problem was that these other companies were aiming for the market of “people who want a sweet-ass electric car” – Tesla’s target market has always been “people who want the best car on the road.”
And to that end, they have endeavored to build the best car on the road, and they have been creating amazing technology to do that. They have been more successful with the technology than others, but this attitude of competing directly with combustion-engine luxury cars is really what has helped Tesla succeed to the degree that it has today.
But Tesla was not started to take BMW down a peg. Tesla was started to help save the world.
The patents were acquired to ensure business security, but since the only real threat, Fisker, has gone down in flames (pun intended), Tesla remains the only real electric car manufacturer. Other major carmakers like Nissan and GM and so on have made half-baked attempts to produce all-electric cars, but sales have been abysmal due largely to lack of interest.
These cars were designed from the get-go as “electric cars” instead of “super-awesome cars that happen to run on electricity.” They were then marketed the same way. They were low-rent economy cars with slow acceleration and dopey looks, and they cost as much as a Cadillac – who would buy that?
Taking It Up A Notch
Hybrid models have been quite successful, especially the Prius, but they still use combustion engines. The first phase of Tesla’s life has been to prove that a company that makes only all-electric cars can succeed, and they have done that. The next phase is to lead the way for combustion engines to disappear from our streets entirely.
Hence the new open patent philosophy. Since no one else is developing attractive electric cars, and since electric research & development is so stagnated at every manufacturer besides Tesla, they figured they’d give everyone else a leg up. This is a smart business decision, because healthy competition is historically good for successful companies like Tesla, and because it will help Tesla appear less like a novelty, and therefore they’ll be able to nudge their way into new markets.
The Future of Bland Cars
Tesla makes the best car on the road. Period. If everyone else catches up, they’ll have to keep improving or fall behind someone else – either way, there will be even better cars than what we see now in the Tesla Model S, and they will comprise a greater and greater percentage of our street traffic.
Can you just imagine?
Can you imagine if the Tesla Model S was the bland car? What a wonderful world indeed.
So get on it, Buick. Get on it, Hyundai. Get on it, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Lincoln, GMC, RAM, Nissan, Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes, EVERYBODY. Take Tesla’s patents and make a better car than Tesla, I dare you. I double dare you.
Read Elon Musk’s full announcement and explanation here:
All Our Patent Are Belong To You
I’m excited, and I hope you are, too. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.