Tesla Motors Resolves Trademark Dispute in China

by T+B Blog Team on August 7, 2014

For the second time in a year, U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Motors, Inc. reports that it has resolved an ongoing trademark dispute in China. As we reported last year, Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng has been the owner of the trademark for the Tesla name in 12 categories, including land, air, and marine transportation vehicles, since 2009. In 2013, Zhan reportedly refused Tesla owner Elon Musks’ offer of two million yuan ($326,000) to buy the trademark, and asked for 100 times that amount (approximately $32 million).

Fast forward to July 2014 when Zhan filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Tesla Motors, claiming rights to the name. That lawsuit has now been settled, according to a Tesla Motors statement: “Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla.” The statement went on to say, “These actions remove any doubt with respect to Tesla’s undisputed rights to its trademarks in China.”

It has also been reported that Tesla and Zhan reached agreement on transferring certain domain names (including tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn) to Tesla Motors.

Bloomberg reported that Musk plans to ramp up production of both its Model S and Model X vehicles, with the expectation that sales in China will match U.S. sales figures by next year. Tesla credited Chinese authorities “for laying the groundwork” to get this trademark issue resolved.

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