Friday, June 20, 2014

All Our Patent Are Belong To You

Here is an excerpt (edited for brevity) of a recent announcement by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla:

"When I started out, I thought patents were a good thing and worked hard to obtain them. Maybe they were good long ago, but too often these days they serve merely to stifle progress, entrench the positions of giant corporations and enrich those in the legal profession, rather than the actual inventors. When I realized that receiving a patent really just meant that you bought a lottery ticket to a lawsuit, I avoided them whenever possible.

At Tesla, we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm us. The unfortunate reality is the opposite: electric car programs at the major manufacturers are small to non-existent, constituting far less than 1% of their sales.

Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla's position in this regard."

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