Tesla sued by Nikola Motor for $2 bn over alleged patent violation

Tesla sued by Nikola Motor for $2 bn over alleged patent violation

Now Nikola Motors has announced it is suing Tesla for $2 billion Dollars in damages, alleging that Musk's company infringed on USA patents received by Nikola for cab design features.

The Utah-based Nikola, which shares a namesake with the California automaker founded by Elon Musk, claims that Tesla's electric semi infringes its U.S. Patent Nos.

The complaint filed by Nikola lays out a number of claims that, viewed together, the company says prove Tesla cribbed from the startup's patents.

In May 2016, Nikola unveiled its first two products to the public, including the hydrogen semi in question and an electric four-wheel off-road vehicle.

Nikola has asked that Tesla be permanently enjoined from infringing Nikola's patents; all damages resulting from the infringement, which Nikola estimates to be more than $2 billion; triple damages for wilful patent infringement; and legal costs.

Tesla allegedly began developing its own version of an electric semi truck in July 2016 and reached out to Kevin Lynk, Nikola's chief engineer, to offer him a job at Tesla.

"It's patently obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit", said a Tesla spokesperson tin a statement to Reuters.

Nikola alleges Tesla copied its unique (and patented) "wrap windshield, mid-entry door, fuselage, fender, side cladding, and the overall design of a semi". Nikola introduced its truck in December of 2016. Almost a year later, Tesla unveiled its Semi truck at an event in Hawthorne, California, with major orders from high profile fleets quickly following. "Upon information and belief, Tesla's market value jumped by roughly $2 billion after the Semi unveiling", the complaint notes. "Further, any problems with the Tesla Semi will be attributed to the Nikola One, causing harm to the Nikola brand".

Neither Nikola nor Tesla has delivered a semi truck to a customer yet. It intends to use another facility to launch production of the trucks in 2019 and claims to already have 8,000 pre-orders in hand - backed by $6.3 billion in deposits. Nikola has previously said that it would build 360 hydrogen fueling stations in the US.

In response to a request for comment, a Nikola Motor spokesperson said, "The lawsuit speaks for itself".

With that in mind, it seems pretty clear that Tesla's development of the Tesla Semi goes back quite a bit in time - possibly well before the Nikola Motor Company revealed anything publicly.

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