Elon Musk to world: All our patents belong to you

Summary:The billionaire co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors announced the company will now open-source its electric vehicle patents.

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The lobby of Tesla Motors' Palo Alto headquarters underwent a bit of redecorating Thursday.

Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk announced that the slew of patents which once lined the lobby wall were now gone — a move that he said open-sources the design patents for the company's electric vehicles.

In doing so, Musk said Tesla will not pursue patent litigation against anyone who uses the company's technology "in good faith" to further the industry.

Musk continued in the blog post:

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. 

Musk said Tesla initially went the patent route to stop big car companies from copying its technology for use in their own manufacturing practices, which Tesla feared would trump its own efforts. Musk conceeded that they were wrong in that assumption, as major automakers wound up producing electric vehicles with limited range far below Tesla's Model S, which has a maximum EPA-range of 265 miles:

The unfortunate reality is the opposite: 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% of their total vehicle sales.

At best, the large automakers are producing electric cars with limited range in limited volume. Some produce no zero emission cars at all.

Musk added that open-sourcing the patents will strengthen the company's mission of attracting and motivating engineers. But it's inclear how Musk will feel if the likes of Ford or GM decide to make use of the patents to make their own Tesla-like electric vehicles.

Read more:

Topics: Emerging Tech, Patents

About

Natalie Gagliordi is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in Louisville, Kentucky, covering business technology for ZDNet. She previously worked as the editor of Kiosk Marketplace, an online B2B trade publication that focused on interactive self-service technology, while also contributing to additional websites that covered retail tec... Full Bio

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