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Electric automaker Tesla Motors hits trademark detour on road to sales in China

A trademark dispute in China is preventing Elon Musk’s electric auto company Tesla Motors from entering the market. Plans to launch the $70,000 model S electric luxury sedan at a showroom in Beijin at the start of the year have been put on hold after it emerged that a businessman in China claimed trademark rights to use the name for his own car company.

Customers shop at the Tesla Motors store in a Miami mall. The automaker’s first store in China remains boarded up due to trademark and product registration issues.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Customers shop at the Tesla Motors store in a Miami mall. The automaker’s first store in China remains boarded up due to trademark and product registration issues.
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Popular electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc’s plans to enter the world’s biggest auto market have stalled after a businessman in China claimed trademark rights to the name, people close to the California-based company have told Reuters.

The maker of the best-selling U.S. electric car, the premium Model S sedan with a price tag of $70,000, had originally hoped to launch a flagship showroom in Beijing at the start of the year, according to three sources, but has had to put that idea on hold due in part to the trademark issue.

As a result, the 10-year-old company’s first shop-front in China, at the Parkview Green Fangcaodi mall in the capital, sits boarded up. While there is no Tesla sign, the shop is adorned with billboards of the Model S, which was launched in the United States last year.

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