Chinese Businessman Suing Tesla for Trademark Infringement

by T+B Blog Team on July 16, 2014

U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. has been hit with a trademark infringement lawsuit in China by a local businessman claiming rights over the name.

Zhan Baosheng, who applied for the Tesla mark in English in 2006, lodged a lawsuit against the carmaker on July 3, requesting the company stop using the label in China and halt all activities there. In the suit, reported by Bloomberg, the businessman would like the carmaker to close its local showrooms, service centers, and charging facilities, as well as suspend sales and marketing activities in the country. Zhan is also seeking ¥23.9 million ($3.9 million) in compensation from Tesla, according to the suit.

Tesla, which in the past filed and won complaints against the businessman, has not yet seen the lawsuit, its spokesperson Simon Sproule told Bloomberg in an email. Last year, the Chinese authorities ruled in favor of the U.S. carmaker, concluding that Zhan’s trademarks were invalid. The decision, which Zhan is currently appealing, made it possible for Tesla to start delivering its Model S sedans to Chinese customers in April.

Zhan was granted rights to use the trademark in 2009 for a period of 10 years, according to information found on the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) website. The trademark was revoked in July 2013 following Tesla’s request. The case is currently under review, since the lawsuit first needs to overcome last year’s ruling before it can proceed to court.

A statement published on the website of the Beijing City Third Immediate Court says it will hold a hearing about the case on August 5, according to CNN Money.

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