Nikola officially dropped its patent lawsuit against Tesla, which concerned the design of the Tesla Semi electric truck. Nikola and Tesla jointly filed a voluntary dismissal notice with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Wednesday.
In 2018, the hydrogen truck startup sued Tesla, claiming that its Semi is a knockoff of Nikola's truck design from 2016, which was developed based on their own patents. It was about three design patents that the company had already received, covering minor design features previously used in other Class 8 trucks. Nikola was claiming $2 billion in damages from Tesla.
However, over the past year and a half, the truck startup and its infamous former CEO Trevor Milton have faced many challenges, showing their inability to deliver on their promises to investors. Milton himself faced three counts of criminal fraud due to the false statements he made about the company.
In addition, in September 2020, Tesla filed a response in the case, accusing Nikola of building its own truck based on a 2010 concept by designer Adriano Mudri. "Adriano Mudri is the designer of the Road Runner concept truck," Tesla wrote in its legal filing. "The Road Runner concept truck was entered into the 2010 Michelin Design Challenge, and was selected for display at the 2010 North American International Auto Show."
Tesla also noted that some of Nikola's design elements, including the rounded windshield and the overall streamlined shape, have long been present in other trucks. Photos of several other trucks that share similarities with Nikola's patented design were attached to the case.
It seems that the influx of problems has had a significant impact on Nikola, which may have decided to ditch one of them. It has become known that the startup has officially decided to drop the claim against Tesla. Tesla also dropped the counterclaim, which suggests that the companies could agree on joint action. While Tesla would probably have won the case, it distracted the company from more important tasks and preparing the Semi to enter the market this year.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.