Tesla: All our patent are belong to you
Elon Musk, the confident CEO of Tesla, has followed on up previous hints with the confirmation that the electric motorcar company will allow any other company to use its patents without having to pay.
"Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology," says Musk in a statement on the company's blog.
Citing the urge to ensure electric vehicles succeed, Musk says that "Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," before going on to say that "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."
The intended outcome? If you are a competing motor company that wants to build an electric car you can now use Tesla's technology to do so and they won't charge or sue you.
The immediate reaction by many will be that the CEO has lost his mind, that he has given away the crown jewels of the company, and something that most investors insist on a company having.
Musk sees it in a different way, however:
"When I started out with my first company, Zip2, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. And maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. After Zip2, when I realised that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible."
The problem for Tesla is that while its cars have been met with popularity, they are still expensive compared to the petrol equivalent, and more expensive than they would like. It's something the enigmatic CEO told Pocket-lint during a Q&A in London at the launch of Model S right-hand drive in the UK earlier this month.
That electric car premium is affecting electric car adoption and has caused major car makers like Ford and VW to take its electric car approach with trepidation, rather jumping in head first to wipe out the threat of Tesla before it even gets a foothold.
"Electric car programs (or programs for any vehicle that doesn't burn hydrocarbons) at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting an average of far less than 1 per cent of their total vehicle sales," adds Musk.
The answer? Give away the technology so more companies use it in their cars, which not only validates Telsa's existence, but also increases the market share of electric cars compared to their petrol guzzling brethren. After all a company with 100s of patents that is out of business is no use at all.
"We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform," states Musk defiant that it's a good idea.
Some will say that Musk is being altruistic, others will perhaps see it for what it is, the chance for a smaller company to get the bigger companies to build its ecosystem for it.