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Tesla China Trademark Dispute

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by jenghiskung, Dec 19, 2013.

  1. jenghiskung

    jenghiskung New Member

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    I'm not familiar with trademark laws in China, so someone enlighten me why Tesla can't simply call themselves "Teslamotors" in China to distinguish themselves from the "Tesla" name which is already trademarked?
     
  2. callmesam

    callmesam Member

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    Because the mark that was recorded in China "TESLA" was to be used for automobiles. So Tesla Motors (USA) can't use someone else's trademark. Basically they are TM squatters. China condones this behavior which is unacceptable in any WIPO signatory country.
     
  3. mrdoubleb

    mrdoubleb Active Member

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    Yeah, somehow I think this would (will) all be magically resolved overnight if Tesla contracted BYD to produce the batteries for their cars sold in the AP region.
     
  4. Ludus

    Ludus Member

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    It's about Tesla's brand in Chinese Hanzi/characters not in Latin alphabet. Most brands choose a set of characters often pronounced a lot like the company name sounds. The Hanzi also have a distinct meaning on their own so companies want to choose a brand that has a good associated meaning as well as sounding right. They have options but are being careful.
     
  5. imherkimer

    imherkimer Member

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    I understood that Tesla Motors has adopted the brand in Chinese characters as "Tuosole" which actually had a more interesting significance, and was not identical to the "Tesla" characters of the trademark squatter.
    What happened to this resolution? Must be working if they are able to open a website and showroom and start to sell cars in China.

    http://jalopnik.com/tesla-changes-name-to-tuosule-in-china-because-of-one-1187995045
     
  6. Lump

    Lump Active Member

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  7. DaveT

    DaveT Searcher of green pastures

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  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead Active Member

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    Sounds like they might have some kind of informal agreement in place with a Chinese company/government which allowed them to win this case. I am not sure but from what I understand, similar cases have been lost in the past.
     
  9. mrdoubleb

    mrdoubleb Active Member

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    Yeah, I might have been wrong about a public commitment to BYD, but it certainly feels like some breakthrough was achieved behind closed doors. They managed to get the Chinese government set the taxes for their cars, won the trademark dispute out of the blue, and Elon starts hinting at China being a logical location at their first non-US factory.

    I don't believe in coincidences - especially when it comes to authoritarian regimes and their independent legal and regulatory institutions.
     
  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    While the government is protectionist they are very serious about BEVs and very serious about rebalancing their economy. Overall I'd expect them to be friendly enough to Tesla at this stage, given the 1/3 limit on the Beijing tags for imports.
     
  11. SebastianR

    SebastianR Member

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    Can you explain that 1/3 limit thing?
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Chinese trademark holder says Tesla must pay him $3.9 million

    Chinese trademark holder says Tesla must pay him $3.9 million | Ars Technica

     
  13. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    I wish mr Zhan a place in hell where can rot. Scum like him are so typical for China where corruption and silly lawmaking is dividing the country into a huge split between the poorest and the richest.

    He was even offered money from Tesla, but refused in his endless greed. I hope he gets nothing AND gets to pay his own legal fees. Tesla Motors (the real one, not the copy-Rolex-faker) might need to lubricate the systems the right places, though, to have a legal chance.
     
  14. Lerxt

    Lerxt Member

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    They clearly don't know how to do business in China. Offering first is a sign of weakness, they should have pressed him for a number.
     
  15. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    I think it was zhan's mistake not to realize who he was dealing with and not taking the deal he shouldn't have refused
     
  16. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

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    Too late now. He had his chance. Now he can use money for his lawyers, bribing officials and spending his time "investing" in ... hmm ... protecting his "rights". The right to copy, which seems deep rooted in Chinese mentality. Mixed with modern day court systems, exploiting this as a way to make money, I hope he loses out big on this one. As government sees jobs, money and fortune from a factory in China, I'm sure they'll squat Mr Zhan flat as the bloodsucking mosquito he is.

    Game over, next!

    In my naive youth I had a long time believed China was such a sharing, caring social country, where all was done mainly for the common good, rather than to suit the individual. That lasted until I moved to China, what a shock I got. There are only seven things that count in China: Me, money, me, luck, me, greed and me.

    This in a country where all are equal, although some are more equal than others.
     
  17. Krugerrand

    Krugerrand Active Member

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    A symbolic (and monetary) gesture of good will and generosity is interpreted as a sign of weakness? Is it also a sign of weakness for Tesla to offer their Model S at a fair price in Asia? How about if Tesla offers to gouge the Asian market by pricing the Model S on par with other luxury sedans of its type so they can afford to pay the guy for being a nasty piece of work? Yeah, that sounds like a show of strength; reward a rip-off artist by ripping off others.

    I can see it now:

    Tesla: Mr. Zhan how much do you want?
    Mr. Zhan: Dunno. How much you gonna offer?
    Tesla: You go first.
    Mr. Zhan: No, you go first.
    Tesla: No, we insist, you go first.
    Mr. Zhan: Can't. That would be a sign of weakness.
    Tesla: Surely you don't expect us to go first?
    Mr. Zhan: I have to keep face.
    Tesla: So do we.
    Intern: Lunch is served.

    BTW, the Trademark Squatter did throw out a number. If I recall correctly it was $30 million US.
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Sometimes, yes. Interpretation of events is seen through the lens of the beholder, affected by his/her intellect, maturity, etc.
     
  19. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    Yeah, my understanding of the back and forth, Tesla offered him 10k at first, back in like 2008 or 09. He refused. Then offered again this time 100k in like 2011. He refused. When he decided to sue Tesla for them just saying screw it and opening the store anyway, he was asking for 30million to make it go away. Tesla refused. The courts initially have sided with Tesla on this one. Now he is asking 3.9 million (where did he come up with that... oddly specific number?)

    So yeah, he should have taken the 100k in the first go around, and then turned around and bought a Tesla with it... it would have been win/win... well, really Tesla still would have lost in that case, but it was more than he deserved!
     

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