Sharing their knowledge to promote cleaner cars

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Tesla goes open source
By Jerry Brownstein
The electric car company Tesla has released all of its technological patents for free use as part of an effort to fight climate change. Elon Musk, the colourful billionaire founder of Tesla, promised that the company “will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.” It is a remarkable move in an industry where the smallest idea or seed of invention is carefully guarded to protect its monetary value. In the past Tesla had always filed patents to prevent other companies from copying their technology. They feared too much competition from the big car companies, but in fact the opposite has happened. They now feel that the bigger problem is that the major manufacturers are not making enough effort to address the need for clean-fuel cars.

 Musk says, “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path for the creation of compelling electric vehicles it will help to achieve that goal.” He hopes that opening up Tesla’s technology to other companies will spur them to “build electric cars rapidly enough to address the carbon crisis.” He sees the patents as obstacles to this goal as “too often they only serve to stifle progress and enrich giant corporations and lawyers rather than inventors.” He went on to say, “We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen Tesla's position, and the entire industry."


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