Nikola Motor Company filed a $2 billion lawsuit against Tesla, claiming the Palo Alto-based electric car and truck maker copied some of its designs and patents.
Tesla introduced its semi in November 2017. CEO Elon Musk talked about how the truck’s battery and design would allow it to surpass other semis currently on the road. In the lawsuit, Nikola says they unveiled their truck about a year ahead of Tesla.
According to NBC, the multi-billion dollar threat is in response to Tesla’s failure to acknowledge a cease-and-desist letter. Despite Nikola’s demands that Musk delay the reveal until infringement issues were settled, Tesla unveiled its semi at a California event that same month.
Nikola received six design patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office between February and April of 2018 for the ‘Nikola One’ truck. Nikola points out similar features, including a wraparound windshield, mid-entry door and aerodynamic fuselage.
Attorney Richard Alexander believes that Tesla is already deeply in the red and doesn’t need this kind of speed bump.
“The shareholders have to be concerned when there’s such a massive claim,” Alexander said. “Tesla’s strongest suit is that it has outstanding batteries. They far surpass the quality of any other vehicle in the United States, and that’s the key to its success in the trucking business.”
Meanwhile, investors seem to be more focused on near-term issues like the Model 3 sedan. In its earnings call on May 3, 2018, Tesla reported a record net loss. During the call, Musk said the company will be focusing on filling Model 3 orders before focusing on the truck, believing the lawsuit has no merit.