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Tesla's Patent Strategy: ''Good Faith'' Or Preemptive?

By Elizabeth Yang and Mark Mao of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck

Elizabeth Yang is Of Counsel in the Technology Services Practice Group at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck’s Los Angeles office where her practice focuses on patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, contract disputes and civil and complex business litigation matters. She may be reached at

Mark Mao is Vice Chair of both of both Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck’s Technology Services Practice Group and Financial Services Practice Group. He works out of the firm’s San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. He may be reached at

Seldom does a company like Tesla Motors (“Tesla”) announce that it will continue to file patents without enforcing them. The promise of “open source technology” did not just surprise the legal community, but everyone in the world. One does not expect a corporation with a market cap of 32 billion dollars to freely give their technology away, especially after spending hundreds of millions of dollars obtaining hundreds of patents. Many other businesses, including patent trolls, would utilize patents solely to increase their intellectual portfolio, protect future product lines, and improve profitability. Patents do not come cheaply, precisely because they can be leveraged to exponentially increase the value of a co...

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