Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) drew a lot of attention last month when the company announced that it was opening its patents to everyone who wants to use them “in good faith.” That means the Elon Musk-led company won’t sue you for using its patented technologies in your own vehicles. Many industry experts and analysts examined the move to figure out why Tesla is giving away all its patents, which give it an advantage over rivals.
Tesla’s patents would provide other automakers only limited information
John-Paul Rooney of Withers & Rogers said that Tesla isn’t dumping its patents for good. The electric vehicle maker is far from altruistic. The electric vehicle maker is using them to attract greater investment in the EV market. Rooney believes the company wants to secure its leading position in the electric car market. Offering its patents to other companies will make Tesla’s technology the de facto standard in the industry.
Some automakers such as Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (ETR:BMW) (FRA:BMW) and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201) have expressed interest in Tesla technology. Indian auto giant Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (BOM:500520) (NSE:M&M), which already manufactures electric cars, said it will also review the U.S. company’s patents. But many large automakers have shown little interest in Tesla’s patents.
Tesla has filed about 1,444 patents, according to MotorBeam. The real problem is that patents provide only limited information. It’s about the real know-how, and only Tesla knows how to put those patented technologies in-sync to make a high-performance vehicle. Besides, Elon Musk’s blog post about opening up Tesla’s patents is not a legally binding document. No automaker would want to use those patents only to battle it out later in the court.
General Motors seems uninterested in Tesla’s technology
MotorBeam says the patents themselves are a big issue. Tesla uses small format battery cells in Model S. That battery technology is patented to Japan’s Panasonic Corporation (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) (TYO:6752), and not many automakers have shown interest in it. In contrast, other companies use larger format cells, so Tesla’s patents won’t be of much use to them.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has shown little interest in Tesla’s technology, though the Detroit company is paying close attention to the electric vehicle maker. General Motors has said that it hasn’t assigned anyone to study the San Francisco-based company’s patents. However, it’s interested in what Tesla is doing from the business side.