Tesla Motors resolved trademark problem in China

Article by Andrew Christian, on August 9, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. finally resolved a trademark dispute in China with Zhan Baosheng, who had registered rights to the name in the country before the carmaker entered the market. In an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, Tesla said it and Zhan reached an agreement to settle their dispute “completely and amicably.”

The agreement also includes the transfer of Web site names registered in China like tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn to EV maker. Zhan’s firm -- Cengceng Inc. -- is a skin-care company. Tesla said that Zhan agreed to have authorities in China complete the process of canceling the trademarks he had registered or applied for, at no cost to the carmaker.

The EV maker said the actions -- when taken collectively -- remove any doubt on Tesla’s “undisputed rights” to its trademarks in China. Tesla’s struggles with its trademark in China mirrors similar experiences in the country by Apple Inc. and Burberry Group Plc.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk recently disclosed the EV maker will ramp up production of the Model S in the United States and the Model X electric SUV, 100,000 units annually by the end of next year.

Tesla commenced direct sales in China in April 2014. Its CEO has quipped that sales in the country may match that of the US by 2015. Tesla has credited authorities in China “for laying the groundwork” to resolving the issue.

The settlement between Tesla and Zhan was reported earlier by the Beijing Third Intermediate Court on its official microblog.

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