Tesla’s intellectual property is in the news again, but this time it’s a trademark issue.
A previous post reported on Tesla’s trademark problem in China. Evidently, a businessman named Zhan Baosheng had registered the TESLA (or “Te Si La” transliterated) trademark in China in 2006, in both English and Chinese.
While Zhan’s trademark rights initially blocked Tesla from using the mark there, in early 2014 the company announced that it had resolved the matter though a court decision granting it the right to use the TESLA mark in China.
So Tesla seemed to be in the clear. But there is renewed uncertainty about the company’s ability to use its brand in China.
Apparently unhappy with the initial result, Mr. Zhan is now suing Tesla for trademark infringement. According to his lawyer, Zhan is demanding that Tesla stop all sales and marketing activities in China, shut down showrooms and charging facilities, and pay him 23.9 million yuan ($3.85 million) in compensation.
Per my prior post, it seems like Zhan is seeking nothing more than a big pay day, as opposed to protecting legitimate business interests.
The case will be heard on August 5th by the Beijing Third Intermediate Court.
This is not the first time a U.S. clean tech company has faced IP difficulties in China – American Superconductor has been involved in major copyright and trade secret litigation with Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel.
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