Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk recently did something that would make most business owners shudder. He opened up his patents to the world in the name of better electric cars for all.
As you’ll recall, Tesla produces high-end, sleek electric cars and holds hundreds of patents for cutting-edge electric vehicle technology. But in a recent blog post on the Tesla website, Musk shared his philosophy about hoping to bring an open-source mindset to his industry.
“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport,” he wrote. “If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
The news was picked up by dozens of media outlets and the societal impact was felt on social media with thousands of mentions from users discussing the development. “The auto industry has taken a cue from Silicon Valley and goes open source,” tweeted Los Angeles magazine. “HATS OFF TO ELON MUSK,” said another Twitter user.
While Musk had originally been hesitant to release production details at all so as not to invite threats from the major car manufacturers—“At Tesla… we felt compelled to create patents out of concern that the big car companies would copy our technology and then use their massive manufacturing, sales and marketing power to overwhelm Tesla.”—it seems as if this move to open up patents is practically a challenge to automakers.
In one swift move, Tesla has solidified its position in the electric vehicle space while challenging Detroit and Japan and any other car city to show him what they’ve got.
And for consumers, that’s going to be worth plugging in to.