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Tesla sued by Nikola Motor for $2 bn over alleged patent infringement

04 May 2018

Hydrogen-powered semi-truck truck company, Nikola Motor Company is reportedly suing Tesla Motors over patent infringements. The name Nikola just happens to be the first name of Nikola Tesla, the same Serbiain-born inventor the Tesla vehicle company is named after. In December the same year, it proceeded to unveil the Nikola One. The suit notes that Tesla at the time did not have any plans to develop a semi-truck and that the company just so happened to announce its plans in July of 2016.

Earlier this week, Nikola filed a lawsuit against Tesla claiming that its rival violated patents in designing the Semi. Tesla didn't respond, it says.

"In addition to consumer vehicles, there are two other types of electric vehicle needed: heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport".

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Nikola alleges Tesla copied its unique (and patented) "wrap windshield, mid-entry door, fuselage, fender, side cladding, and the overall design of a semi".

Nikola Motor Company CEO Trevor Milton says the company has almost $9 billion in pre-order reservations for its trucks; the company plans to have more than 700 hydrogen stations across the United States and Canada by 2028.

Right now, Nikola has two cab designs - one with a sleeper (Nikola One), and one without (Nikola Two). From choosing names (Nikola Tesla was a famous scientist) to regular barbs at Tesla's business practices-Nikola has done it all. For example, Tesla has had problems with its batteries starting fires and its autonomous features causing fatal accidents.

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The fierce competition between Nikola and Tesla for that market extends to the design of the trucks.

Nikola said it would start delivering the trucks to the beer distributor in 2020, and it would show off a final production version of the truck at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. Almost all the hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S. is limited to states on the east and west coasts, and automakers with hydrogen vehicles have generally refused to dump large amounts of money to expand the number of stations. In addition to moving its headquarters to Phoenix, Nikola is building a one-million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Buckeye, Arizona. Their spokesperson commented on the potential case saying "We are simply defending our intellectual property".

The complaint filed by Nikola lays out a number of claims that, viewed together, the company says prove Tesla cribbed from the startup's patents.

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Tesla sued by Nikola Motor for $2 bn over alleged patent infringement