Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) gets sued in China over trademark dispute

Posted Jul 9, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is being sued in China over trademark infringement. Zhan Baosheng registered the rights to the name before Tesla Motors entered China. He is asking that Tesla Motors shutdown down its showrooms, service centers, and Superchargers in China. He is also asking Tesla Motors to stop all sales and marketing activities in China along with paying him 23.9 million yuan ($3.9 million) in compensation.

Tesla Motors filed complaints against Zhan to Chinese authorities and won. Tesla has not been served with or seen the lawsuit. The lawsuit would have to overcome a ruling from last year where a Chinese regulator sided with Tesla’s claims that Zhan’s trademarks were invalid. Zhan is appealing the decision of the regulator.

Zhan paid a filing fee of 161,500 yuan for the lawsuit, according to Bloomberg. Zhan applied to trademark the name in English in September 2006, which is three years after Tesla was founded in the U.S. The trademark was awarded for auto related uses and was granted by the trademark office in June 2009 for 10 years.

?We have brought multiple actions against Zhan on account of his theft of our trademarks, and various Chinese authorities that have ruled on the matter have agreed with Tesla,? said a Tesla spokesperson. The spokesperson said that Zhan?s lawsuit ?will not stop us in any way from operating in China.?