In a move estimated to boost the electric vehicle market, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk declared the company would make all of its patented technology accessible for use by competitors. A blog post on Tesla Motors website promises not to initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who wants to use Tesla’s technology “in good faith.” The blog reveals a statement “All Your Base Are Belong To Us,” a classic Internet meme referencing the poorly translated grammar of 1989 video game Zero Wing.
“[At Tesla] we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla. We couldn’t have been more wrong.”
ELON MUSK, TESLA MOTORS CEO
At a press conference, Musk made it clear Tesla is offering all of its patents, which counts to several hundreds,up for use. He has also promised to make future patents available, which he claimed would ultimately reach the thousands.
Frustated with the existing patent system, Musk charted a sort of gentlemen’s agreement between companies, vowing not to sue other automakers for utilizing Tesla’s patents, but expecting similar behavior from them.
Musk talked about Tesla’s Supercharger technology, which can add 170 miles of range to the Model S in 30 minutes.Musk added Tesla would be “more than happy to have other automakers use its patented Supercharger network inorder to built Supercharger capability into their electric cars.” However, he would also expect other automakers to put up Supercharger stations, as Tesla has done.
Tesla’s patents might be considered by competitors in battery pack construction. Tesla’s battery packs use multiple small cells, along with power control software to prevent thermal overruns.Tesla has spent many years in development of its technology equation.
Boosting the electric car industry might give stiff competition to Tesla, but Musk stated that electric car production is currently less than 1 percent of total production. He added that their true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day .
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. Tesla believes that applying the open source philosophy to their patents will strengthen rather than diminishing their position in that regard.