Tesla Being Sued in Trademark Dispute in China
July 8, 2014—Tesla Motors Inc. is being sued in China for trademark infringement.
Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng is suing the U.S. electric car maker, requesting Tesla shut down its Chinese showrooms, service centers and supercharging facilities. He also asked that the company stop all sales and marketing activities in the country and pay him 23.9 million yuan, or $3.9 million, according to a lawsuit filed July 3 in Beijing and seen by Bloomberg News.
Zhan applied to trademark the name “Tesla” in English and Chinese in September 2006 in China. The application came three years after Tesla was founded in the U.S., but Zhan was granted the trademark in June 2009, according to Reuters.
Zhan subsequently applied to register more Tesla-related trademarks, including the logo and Chinese translation of the name, "Te Si La,” Reuters reported.
Tesla later attempted to purchase the name from Zhan, but negotiations fell through, according to Bloomberg.
In July 2013, U.S.–based Tesla Motors requested the trademarks be revoked and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce Trademark Review and Adjudication Board in China complied.
Zhan told Bloomberg he has appealed and the case is under review.