NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said he is opening up the company’s patents to any automaker that wants to build electric cars.
In a blog post Thursday, Musk vowed “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
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Musk said Tesla was created to accelerate the adoption of sustainable transportation.
“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 that Tesla will continue to file for patents in the future, but only to prevent other entities from patenting Tesla’s innovations.
Musk said that Tesla does not have an estimate on the economic value of the patents it is making public, but he does not believe that investors should be concerned about the company losing some kind of value from this move.
“I don’t want to overstate the value of patents. If a company is truly relying on patents or patent portfolio, that’s a weak position,” said Musk. “I think nonetheless this can be of modest help to others.”
Shares of Tesla were little changed on the news, but have climbed about 35% so far this year.
Musk said when Tesla first launched it filed for patents because he worried that “big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla.” But he said he’s been disappointed by the fact that the established automakers have done relatively little to develop electric cars.
Tesla’s Model S has far greater range than any other electric-only car, able to travel at least 200 miles between charges. Its Supercharger technology also can recharge cars much more quickly than other plug-in cars can be recharged.
The global industry needs to offer far more electric cars than Tesla can build itself if the problems posed by greenhouse gases and global warming are to be addressed, according to Musk. He said none of the other automakers have reached out to Tesla to ask to use its technology, although it does have partnerships with Toytota and Mercedes-Benz to provide parts of their own electric cars.
“We think the market is big enough for everyone,” he said. “I don’t think this hurts us, and if we can do things that don’t hurt us and it can help the U.S. industry, we should do that.”
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