(Adds analyst comment, background on tech industry and patents,
another Musk comment))
By Bernie Woodall and Dan Levine
DETROIT/SAN FRANCISCO, June 12 Tesla Motors Inc
on Thursday said it would allow others to use its
intellectual property in hopes of speeding up development of
electric cars by all manufacturers.
Tesla co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said
the company would not take legal action against anyone who "in
good faith wants to use our technology."
Musk said on the company's website that the industry would
benefit from open-source sharing of technologies.
He said the company was founded to speed the growth of
"If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric
vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us
to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that
goal," he said.
Musk said the move included all of Tesla's patents,
including several hundred current ones and several thousand in
"We think the market's quite big enough for everyone," Musk
Investors should not worry that the decision would hit
Tesla's bottom line, he told reporters on a conference call.
"It doesn't really harm Tesla but helps the industry," Musk
said on the call, "and I think actually it will help Tesla,
mostly with respect to attracting and motivating the world's
best technical talent."
He said investors should be more concerned about whether a
company is able to attract and motivate the best talent than the
contents of its patent portfolio.
"Putting in long hours for a corporation is hard," said Musk
on the conference call. "Putting in long hours for a cause is
Many tech companies view the explosion of U.S. patent
litigation as a drain on innovation and have become more vocal
about policies intended to prevent their patents from being used
in court. However, those policies often come with caveats: In
2012, Twitter said it would no longer pursue "offensive
litigation" based on its own patents, but reserved the right to
use them for defense if the company was sued by someone else.
Likewise, nothing in Musk's announcement rules out Tesla's
ability to use its patents as bargaining leverage in the event
another car manufacturer threatens Tesla with a patent lawsuit,
said Joseph Chernesky, a former Boeing patent executive now at
"There's really no change," Chernesky said. "Companies who
don't need to assert their patents don't, and most companies
Any patents owned by Tesla supplier Panasonic Corp
are not included in the sharing move, Musk said. Panasonic has
said it plans to be the sole manufacturer at Tesla's planned
"gigafactory" for battery production.
Musk said his company will continue to file for patents in
part to keep competitors from attaining them and then blocking
Tesla and others from using the information.
Tesla shares closed Thursday at $203.52, down 95 cents, or
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Detroit and Dan Levine in San
Francisco; Editing by Chris Reese, Lisa Von Ahn and Jonathan