Tesla Sued By Nikola Motor Over Design Patent Infringement

A lawsuit alleging infringement of design patents has been filed against electric carmaker Tesla by Nikola Motor Co, a maker of semi-trucks which are powered by hydrogen. In the court papers Tesla’s heavy duty truck is accused of having a similar design to that of Nikola’s. The maker of hydrogen-powered trucks claims to have received from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office six design patents earlier this year for Nikola One’s overall design, side cladding, fender, fuselage, mid-entry door and wrap windshield.

In the court filing Nikola Motor claims that the financial harm caused by Tesla infringing on its design patents amounts to more than $2 billion. A spokesperson for Tesla however rejected the claims saying the lawsuit had no merit. The chief executive officer of Tesla, Elon Musk, showed off the company’s heavy duty truck, the Tesla Semi, last year in November. Tesla expects to start production of the Semi next year.

Net loss

This comes in the wake of Tesla posting a net loss of $709.6 million in Q1 as it burned cash amounting to $745.3 million in its efforts to mass produce the Model 3, its cheapest car so far. Analysts had been expecting a loss per share of between $3.58 and $3.54 but it came in at $3.35. The cash burn rate and the record loss raised questions concerning the future of the company especially whether the electric car firm will be able to meet its financial obligations without having to borrow or sell more stock. In an earnings call Musk said there was a likelihood that Tesla would have positive cash flows in Q3.

“It’s high time we became profitable. The truth is you’re not a real company until you are, frankly. That’s our focus right now,” Musk said during the earnings call with analysts.

Production target

Before the close of Q2 the goal of Tesla is to have reached a production target of 5,000 Model 3 cars per week. This is a goal that Musk had set before but missed. In the month of April Tesla disclosed that an average of 2,270 cars had been produced on a weekly basis which means the electric car maker must more than double its production rate before the close of June if it is to meet the new target.

On a positive note the revenues of Tesla rose by over 6% quarter-over-quarter to hit a figure of $3.41 billion.

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