Tesla Motors Open Sources its Patents

The following was submitted by ECW reader Alain Samoun.This week Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors posted a dramatic statement regarding his company’s patent policy on his company blog.

Here are couple of  key excerpts from Musk’s 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. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology. .  .

“Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.”

This is a big deal, because it is a first, to my knowledge, for a manufacturer company, and also because it concerns a large number of new and current patents,look at the list — about 250 patents concerning electric vehicle, electric Tesla engines and batteries.

I wish that other companies will do the same,especially if they are involved with new energy like LENR . In my opinion it is the best way to accelerate innovations.

Alain Samoun

  • Alain Samoun

    If Rossi was giving away his secret,what do you think would happen? For me he would be recognized by everyone as the greatest man on the planet and for ever. Scientists/engineers everywhere would work to explain and develop his invention for the good of humanity. Unlimited and clean energy would change the world,end the wars for energy control,end of famines,end of drought,end of air and water pollution and end of the world as we know it.

    • he coudl also sell licenses of his patent at honest price, letthing trillion of value be shared between industrials, clients, and himself, and with the billion he get, he could invest in malaria immunization, water purification project, …

      the only bad behavior that will not make him a hero is if he does not let his patent be exploited and does not exploit it at the best possible, including selling it at huge price like we see for music industry…

      there are two equilibrium of price for a product…
      either you sell it a low volume high price (like CDs, iPhone), or you sell it at high volume, low price (ford T)… you can make as much money with both, but one give benefit to the masses, not the other…

      one way to ensure the mass have access is to sell licenses at honest price to mass producers who will compete like hyena…
      Android with Chinese produced is benefiting emerging countries… iPhone is the opposite.

      you can eve do like Tesla, give away patent so your standard get The Standard, and you make more money with a smaller share of a bigger market.
      That is the kind of stpry Entrepreneur likes…

      the economic rent capitalist as we love it in France, just prefer save bet with expensive licenses to a handful of luxury good producers. This safe bet is in fact a suicide, but on the paper it looks good.
      It is the Hadopi spirit.

    • Omega Z

      Many in time have given their knowledge freely & many of them are respected, But many have also died destitute & few people cared.

      I would note that Rossi has already passed the torch. It belongs to I.H.
      However once it is available, It will be studied the world over. Lucky for us, it will already be in the market & we won’t have to wait another 20 years waiting on Science to get done.

      Personally, I think Rossi is doing it the right Way. P&F tried to go the scientific Path. Didn’t work out so well.

  • Alain Samoun

    Considering that Nikola Tesla idea is close to hundred years old and considering that nobody so far has used it to develop a real product in the auto industry, I think that the move to open source their products is quite commendable.

  • kdk

    IP laws are getting tons of people killed across the world who don’t need to die. This is a step in the right direction.

  • Sanjeev

    Its a welcome move, no doubt. He never believed in patents anyway.
    It looks more like a PR strategy as electric car is a 100 year old tech and no patent can stop a competitor from building one from scratch and selling it. So I guess open sourcing their patents will have very little effect, except for some earnings for Tesla in the form of good will.
    Musk hopes that it will encourage the e-car industry to manufacture more e-cars but the major hurdle there is not the IP.

  • jousterusa

    Not sure of the relationship, but when the markets opened this Monday morning, Tesla Motors shot up $18 to $225 a share! Not too shabby!

    • Omega Z

      Probably not. This was announced last Wednesday or Thursdays.

  • Charles

    Back in the olden days, I was an electronics engineer at a permanent magnet dc motor manufacturer. Forty, that’s right 40, years ago, solid state pulse width modulated amplifiers drove brushless DC motors and were capable of dynamic braking (this could also have been used for recharging batteries and braking the vehicle). The motors were of rare earth magnetic materials and their shape was usually pancake, ideal for vehicle wheel driving and braking. The power source was, of course, 50, 60, or 400 Hertz rectified and filtered to the desired (necessary) dc value. Batteries of course are DC. I have been out of touch with the way-out stuff, but I doubt seriously that other than the speed and power of the solid state drivers and dinking with computer programs that much could have or has changed. I am a great admirer of Elon Musk but I struggle to believe that he is giving up very much in the propulsion field (batteries to solid state controls/drivers and back to the batteries) by open sourcing his patents. But, like I said, it has been a while. Just for the heck of it, google up what East Tennessee State has done with DC motor driving for autos. Yeah, I said ETSU. Good outfit but they prove what I said about the ability to drive autos with DC/AC motors.

    Now, LENR. Man, that is a horse of another color. My technical mind says LENR, the E-Cat for starters, will cause Musk to wonder why, in the name of Heavens, he jumped off the battery cliff. Methinks he had better recover his capital investment in short order – say 5, maybe 10 years, MAX. Wait until the industry really cranks up on LENR, right Andrea Rossi?

  • Jonnyb

    Could not agree more

  • Omega Z

    From an Elon Musk Point of View.

    I’ve invested Billions in this technology. I’m about to invest Billions more in battery manufacturing.

    I’m investing in a technology where there is no ‘Standard”. This is yet to be determined. I find myself, a small fish among Sharks. Nissan, Toyota, GM, Ford, Etc..

    Sooner or later, Someone will push for There’s to be “THE” standard. Or as whispers can be heard among politicians for the need of a standard. Who provides the biggest campaign contributions as that is how they will decide.

    I find myself in a VHS/Beta-max Video Format Situation. How to become the VHS & not Beta-max. As Becoming Beta-max means all investments are lost. Being VHS assures my survival to at least compete.

    Why, I shall Create a Standard to Mine own. I will entice others to Copy, Clone, Build, Manufacture & sell My technology Free of patent infringement & license Fees. Well, With the Caveat to maintain my standards & business model for distribution.

    As you can see, This has much to do with a Shrewd Strategic Business Plan & less to do with altruism. But It’s a good spin.

    And it benefits the consumer. A standard leads to cheaper production cost & No One gets stuck with a Beta Model that has zero support down he road.

    Musk no doubt intends to make profits & more wealth. This doesn’t make a bad person. It’s what One does with that wealth once obtained.
    In My Book, Musk (as are a few others) is kind of a poster child. His investments benefit others as well as himself. Many are just about themselves.

  • bachcole

    I tend to run very skeptical of kum ba ya. I make sarcastic remarks about it when I see it. I use it in sarcastic remarks when I want to put down misplaced idealism and fake community. But I have got to say, Elon Musk doing this bring tears to my eyes and makes me admire him very much. In the late 1960’s, my spiritual mentor, Ivy Duce, used to say, “Everyone talks about love but no one does the dishes.” Elon Musk is doing the dishes. He is ignoring paranoia, greed, and selfishness and sacrificing for the good of others in a VERY big way.

  • Gerard McEk

    I like Musk’s policy and I hope the LENR World will do the same as a new energy source will benefit everybody on our planet. Also the farmacuiticals should do this for the same reason. Maybe a new sort of finantial compensation should be put in place instead, to stimulate inventors and innovation.

    • jousterusa

      You say, Gerard, “Maybe a new sort of financial compensation should be put in place instead, to stimulate inventors and innovation,” and I immediately thought to myself, What if our society had evolved in such a way that the real reward was not financial but the high respect and recognition earned by your innovation or invention? I wish some society would evolve in that way!

      • Omega Z

        There are abuses of the system, But the truth is, most developments would never come to be without the financial gain.
        Respect & Recognition does not pay the bills or feed you so their time would be spent doing things that do. Not inventing.

        People focus on money, But compensation is compensation regardless of the means. Money is just the medium we choose to use to keep track.

        I tend to think of it as a Bushel of apples. I don’t throw them all out if i find a bad one. I sort thru them. Our perception’s tend to lead us to think there all bad, but reality is not that many. Just seems like it.

        • Normal people base their decision on rational compensation, preferring money which you can trade, or else practical advantage, or insurance.

          Entrepreneur are more strange. Often they don’t do thing for money (it is too risky, and often not really the best financial decision on average), even if they want to gain money if they succeed.
          Most of the time they consider money as a prize for their success, and fuel for their next adventure.
          they want to create, and be reconized for it.

          In France for example many people claim that people escape from high taxes … People organizing the migration of rich and entrepreneur explain that tax is not the first but the last reason to move.
          Most of the time the real reason are insults, perceived from political ambiance in the news, from a tax investigation that get very violent and tricky…

          Funny but normal peoples are more greedy than entrepreneurs…

          • Alain Samoun

            The ones that you call “normal people” have a job that they do not like, money is only to survive and time to time to get some ‘extra’ . You call “entrepreneurs” people who like their work and don’t really care about money and consumerism some have money, like Musk, but most live without much of it. And then you have what I will call parasites, poor souls with money that they mostly inherited,they are only motivated by consumerism and appearances,that the ones who do not want to pay their taxes, as money is everything for them and they don’t want to share it with anybody.

            • The separation is toward a good direction…
              I just think that the last oligarchy, of rich and not so rich, mostly salarymen and fixed rate earner, are sitting on a status quo, economic rent, protected by laws, screened from taxes (at least in france, where sleeping and inherited money is more protected than productive and creative money)… I see first the high paid top executive, who clearly abuse of their annoyance power to racket the shareholders, but some protected insiders, abusing of some big or small power, preventing both the system to change, to adapt.

              for the masses of people who don’t love their job, I don’t think this is the key parameter. the key parameter is that they are battling to reduce their risk exposure to everything… afraid of their shadow. I have been that kind at an extreme case until I crossed… someone from elsewhere…
              the result is that when thing change, people who have insurance (salaries, house, bonds, contracts) are toasted. They are “fragile”.

              for me the oligarchy is mostly protected by some “morality rule” that define that they deserve more than those who work or innovate. The biggest monster in a human society is often the one you cannot criticize.

              Sacred cows are carnivorous.

      • Gerard McEk

        I think that patents belong to the capitalistic system. The system where rewards are materialized in money equivalents. When you want that different then you may need to change from capitalism to socialism, something which will not easily happen, although I think the capitalism is derailed in many countries. What should happen is a limit in the maximum reward for each function in the society. Patents should be rewarded for the time and money spend plus some ‘risk reward’. Especially ‘leaders’ are often too high rewarded in our capitalistic world, often because they were able to determine their reward themselves or within their own ‘circle’ of greedy people.

        • jousterusa

          You misunderstood me, Gerard. Socialism is a bugaboo of yours I guess. I was merely saying that regardless of the origins of the patent systems or its service to capitalism, it would be far better if innovators got their reward from the mutual respect of their fellow me. That would not be socialism or any ism; it’s a pleasant fantasy.

  • Bernie777

    Thanks Alain. Very interesting. IH’s background might predict the same open source, and explain their China initiative?

    • bachcole

      IH doesn’t have a background. But they do have people, and you could be right about their open sourcing eventually. I am sure that I saw something in Darden’s bio about some ministry something, and Vaughn is hardcore, and Rossi is very religious, all in the best possible sense. And it doesn’t hurt that Elon Musk has given such a good example. But notice that Musk is set, and IH won’t do it until they are secure in their financial security.

  • Alain Samoun

    To Admin:
    The link to the list of patents is
    No dot at the end