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Trademark trolls block China plans for Tesla Motors


Trademark trolls block China plans for Tesla Motors

Staff Reporter
11:47 (GMT+8)

A luxury hybrid model from Tesla Motors. (Photo/Xinhua)

A luxury hybrid model from Tesla Motors. (Photo/Xinhua)

In a repetition of the trouble experienced by Apple three years ago, Tesla Motors, a California-based maker of electric cars and components, may have to pay dearly to enter the Chinese market, where its trademark has already been registered in advance by trademark trolls.

Zhan Baosheng successfully registered the “Tesla” trademark for land, air, and marine transportation vehicles in 12 categories in 2009. Qiao Weiwei successfully registered “TESLA MOTORS” as a trademark in China before selling it to the carmaker on May 6, but the trademark covers only rail vehicle, sleighs, airplanes and ships. It is not applicable to finished car and auto parts.

As a result, Tesla was rejected by the Chinese authorities in its application for the “Tesla” trademark in 2009. The problem has blocked Tesla’s bid to tap the country’s huge market, including its plan to open a flagship store in Parkview Green Shopping Center on Beijing’s Dongdaqiao Road.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the Chinese-language Chinese Entrepreneur magazine that the company once offered to buy the “Tesla” trademark in China for 2 million yuan (US$326,000) but trademark owner Zhan Baosheng wanted 100 times this amount.


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