Tesla sued for $2B by electric semi-truck startup alleging patent infringement

Tesla sued for $2B by electric semi-truck startup alleging patent infringement

Nikola Motors is suing Tesla for $2 billion alleging patent infringment on several design features. The lawsuit claims that Tesla's electric semi, which was unveiled in November 2017, infringes on several of its patents, including Nikola's mid-entry door, fuselage, and wrap windshield that is created to give the driver an unobstructed view of the road.

In the suit, Nikola noted that Tesla has never claimed that its design was unique.

Nikola filed for its patents in December 2015 and announced in May 2016 that it was designing and meant to build an electric Class 8 truck.

"Nikola estimates its harm from Tesla's infringement to be in excess of $2 billion", the company said in its lawsuit filing.

Putting a price tag on that damage comes to $2 billion, according to the law suit. The company contends that Tesla had not announced plans to enter the electric truck market prior to that time.

Nikola claimed it sent a letter to Tesla in November 2017 informing the company that its design included features that Nikola was seeking patent protection for.

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In the patent infringement lawsuit, Nikola points to similarities between its own and Tesla's front fenders, windshield design and shape, some doors, aerodynamics and more as proof that the electric vehicle maker copied its work. Its goal is to launch a long-haul hydrogen-electric hybrid truck as early as 2020 with help from German manufacturing giant Bosch.

Nikola claims in its complaint that it has pre-sold about 7,000 trucks and that "total reservations are now worth more than $6.3 billion in revenue".

The Nikola One was debuted in December of 2016, while Tesla debuted its all-electric semi in November of 2017.

On September 22, 2016, Tesla contacted Kevin Lynk, Nikola's Chief Engineer. Nearly immediately, Tesla received orders for its Semi.

Nikola claims the Tesla Semi is "substantially" similar to its own. Nikola's truck has a mid-entry door, "another first in the trucking industry", as does the Tesla truck. To support the range-extender, Nikola has plans to build 364 fueling stations this year. The facility where it will manufacture the trucks does not yet exist, and apparently, neither does the money for it. On the other side, a spokesperson for Nikola refused to comment as it "is in the courts", but that the lawsuit "speaks for itself".