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Friday, 13 June 2014

All Our Patent Are Belong To You (Tesla Motors)

I'm not sure about the precise meaning of that strange phrase, but this statement makes clear that what the American electric-car maker is doing is making its technology fairly freely available. Fairly freely? Well, probably on the advice of a cautious lawyer, Mr Musk has announced that anyone can use the patented technology without restriction, in good faith. Those three words could provide an awful lot of escape routes.

The blog post in which Mr Musk made the announcement speaks about 'open-source', though to be fair only as a metaphor for what the company is doing. I don't think the concept of open-source works literally except in the software licensing field, where the source code is usually (in the sort of licensing models with which we are most familiar, at any rate) as closed as can possibly be. The general idea reads over quite well, though, and one has to applaud Tesla's openness. At least, I do.

Why do this? Because it's an emerging technology that requires a huge infrastructure - in particular, charging points. The greater the parc of electric vehicles, and the more manufacturers there are involved to share the costs, the more likely the infrastructure is to be built and the more viable electric cars will be. 

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