Auto maker Tesla opens up all of its patents: when is a system overhaul scheduled?
On June 14th, 2014, Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk announced that the company was opening up the use of its patents, thus renouncing to prosecute those who would use its technologies. The electric-car manufacturer explains that patents are useless for innovation, and goes as far as comparing a patent application with a lottery offering a lawsuit as its sole prize.
This excellent news transcribes to the car industry what April has been explaining for years in the area of computing: as regards software, patents have nothing to do with innovation and amount to a weapon for economic warfare [fr] —which diverts to legal departments funds that could be put to better use in research and innovation.
April is delighted that such a player as Tesla has now understood that patents are useless and harmful. This does not call into question the need for reform, because the possibility of filing such patent applications is dangerous for innovation —even if Tesla's are not a threat anymore. Let us hope that the example Tesla is setting will be followed by many others.