Tesla Motors Inc. is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit against in China as filed by Zhan Baosheng, who registered the rights to the name before the US carmaker made its way into the country. Zhan is requesting that Tesla close its showrooms, service centers and supercharging facilities in China; halt all sales and marketing activities in the country; and pay him CHY23.9 million ($3.9 million) in compensation.
Tesla spokesman Simon Sproule, in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, dismissed the lawsuit, saying that it is Zhan who is attempting to steal the carmaker’s property. He noted that Tesla hasn't been served with seen the lawsuit.
Tesla has already secured a ruling against Zhan with the Chinese regulators. Zhan applied to trademark the Tesla name in English in September 2006, around three years after Tesla was established in the United States.
The trademark office granted Zhan’s application in June 2009 for a period of 10 years, according to the Web site of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which oversees trademarks.
Zhan then applied to register more Tesla-related trademarks, including the logo and Chinese transliteration of the name. But Tesla lodged a complaint against Zhan over the trademark issue. This moved SAIC’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board to revoke Zhan’s Tesla trademarks in July 2013.
Zhan said he has filed an appeal to SAIC’s ruling, adding that the case is under review. According to a court receipt seen by Bloomberg News, Zhan paid a filing fee of CHY161,500 for the lawsuit, which was confirmed by an official at the Beijing Third Intermediate Court.