Target: Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Goal: Thank Elon Musk for supporting electric car innovation by releasing all of its patents
Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk recently announced that the company will be releasing all of its patents into the open market, starting immediately. In a blog post on the Tesla website, Musk said that the patents have been released “in the spirit of the open-source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.” He went on to say that “our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.” Electric cars currently account for less than 1 percent of all auto sales in the U.S.
The company’s patent portfolio includes several hundred patents, many of them relating to Tesla’s singular high-speed battery-charging technology. The hope is that by sharing the technology, other companies will help expand the market for electric cars by increasing the supply and thus bringing the price down, making non-combustion cars accessible to the average consumer. In addition to expanding the market, the newly available technology will also lead to better electric vehicle infrastructure, including the building of more charging stations across the country and development of charging stations that are compatible with any brand of electric vehicle. Since the transportation sector accounts for almost one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., the development of a non-fossil fuel based transportation infrastructure is paramount in the effort to address climate change.
Tesla’s move is also part of a larger movement in Silicon Valley to reform the whole patent system. Many innovators, especially in the high-tech sector, see the current system as broken and anachronistic, leading to expensive lawsuits and stifling, rather than enabling, innovation. According to Musk, “technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers. We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen rather than diminish Tesla’s position in this regard.” Sign this petition to applaud Tesla’s efforts to make the world a more welcoming place for electric vehicles in particular and high-tech innovation in general.
Dear Mr. Musk,
Your decision to release Tesla’s patents is an important step forward, both in the fight against climate change and in the struggle for a relevant and effective patent system. Our future looks very bleak without the breakthroughs that will allow us to save ourselves, which must come from technological and social innovation.
The leadership of corporations like Tesla will be indispensable in the fight for an equitable and sustainable future. Thank you for your commitment to social change.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Adventures of Pam and Frank via Fotopedia