It happened to Apple when it first tried to enter the Chinese market, and now it's happening to electric vehicle maker Tesla: the automaker's name has already been registered in China by trademark trolls, reports Want China Times. Trademark trolls are people or organizations that register company names in anticipation of selling them when said company decides to enter the market. After two years of litigation, Apple ended up paying Chinese computer monitor maker Proview $60 million to buy the "IPAD" trademark. Tesla has been in litigation since 2009 for the use of its name, and so far, it doesn't have much to show for it.

"Tesla" was registered in 2009 by Zhan Baosheng, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker already made an offer to buy it for two million yuan ($326,000), but Baosheng wanted the equivalent of about $32.6 million for the trademark. Tesla's fight to use its name has been somewhat fruitful – it bought the rights to "TESLA MOTORS" on May 6 – but the name can't be used for finished automotive products for various legal reasons.

The Silicon Valley-based EV maker might have some leverage in its case to acquire ownership of the "Tesla" trademark, because Baosheng hasn't used the name since he registered it in 2009, and he hasn't yet proved that he develops products relating to EVs.


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  • 68 Comments
      davebo357
      • 1 Year Ago
      Don't give in. Just brand them as Tezla's there. Or better yet just name it TE5LA and with that font you won't even have to change the logo on the car.
      RoyEMunson
      • 1 Year Ago
      Zhan Baosheng registered the name in 2009?? Sounds like any reasonable person would consider this an open and shut case. This bottom feeder is lucky they offered him anything for a name he obviously pilfered. "Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker already made an offer to buy it for two million yuan ($326,000), but Baosheng wanted the equivalent of about $32.6 million for the trademark." So his counter offer was 100 times what Tesla offered... wow, creative. Go with a different name for the Chinese market, Tesla, dont sell out to this d-bag.
      whatamooseiam
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Trademark trolls are people or organizations that register company names in anticipation of selling them when said company decides to enter the market.". This isn't what happened in Apple's case. The IPAD was trademarked back in the 90's by Proview for their all-in-one PCs. There was no intention back then to register it in anticipation to sell that name to Apple or anyone else. I do find it ironic, however, that the IPAD pc design was basically a rip off of Apple iMacs.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just aother day in China... All Tesla needs to do is bribe the court and problem solved. Seriously.
        RoyEMunson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        I agree, level the playing field with this clown.
        Hi wes
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bK
        Our own government will then sue you for coruption. Happened to a company reciently.
      Mike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Forget about paying this guy off, they should market the car as a Te8la Model 8. They could make the "S as closed as possible to look like an 8 ( which is a very auspicious number to the Chinese) and having the model called an "8' instead of an "S" would also cater to their cultures' belief that 8 is lucky. Maybe this would end up becoming "good fortune" for Tesla and "bad fortune" for Mr Baosheng.....
      Felipe Politano
      • 1 Year Ago
      Such an awesome political experiment to watch how communists make the worst types of capitalists. Russian politicians, chinese trolls, african dictators... they're simply not ashamed, not afraid and capable of anything. Hope the good people in those countries come to their senses and realize that, along with capitalism, must come true democracy.
      Vien Huynh
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chinese counterfeit stuffs are the norm... good luck Tesla, as a commentor below said, use Te5la instead.
      kmdk78
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well I guess we can wait for the cheaper Chinese version to hit the market. Probably take 8 weeks.
      Velocity105
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like having anything to do with China is problematic.
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should name it after a great Chinese inventor from this millenium...
        no1bondfan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        You're going to get down-voted for that, but that was damn funny.
      RC
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Chinese will cheat your soul out of you. Who can compete on unfair grounds? no one.
      DRAGON
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is there anything good coming from China? If you give me a red thumb please explain yourself.
        DRAGON
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DRAGON
        It does not mean that it's a good thing. Personally I try to avoid as much as I can buying goods from China because they don't respect any ethics and I don't want to support that. However sometimes you just have no choice because some product families are 100% made in China. I'm not even talking about our government choices. It's not like I have the opportunity to influence those. I'm fine with China trying to become a modern Country and make their population (more) happy. I have a lot of very close Asian friends. so it's not about the people, I do not respect the lack of ethics in business and politics of this Country. This is completely different.
          Thereminator
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DRAGON
          Hey Levine,all country's,cultures,and groups have corruption...its a sad fact of human nature.Dragon never said the U.S.A didn't...you baiting d-bag.We know that America bashing is the favorite tool for narrow-minded left-wing fanatics. Hate America much?
          Levine Levine
          • 1 Year Ago
          @DRAGON
          Yeah, tell me about the wonderful US business ethics and politics. How about Enron, WorldCom, Tyco, Equitable Funding, Countrywide, LehmanBros, BearStearn, Bernie Madoff, Stanford, Saving and Loan scandal(Lincoln Savings) and all the subprime real estate scams that cost the US taxpayers hundreds of billion of dollars in bailouts. As for American politics: Chris Dodd and the American Bankers Association, Jeff Skilling/Ken Lay and the Republican Party, former Illinois governor selling Obama's senate seat, Watergate, IRS intimidates unpopular political parties, Clinton getting BJ at the Oval Office, VP Spiro Agnew taking bribes, and dozens of Congressmen who resigned due to overwhelming evidence of corruption. That's just at the Federal level. The corruption and embezzlement of tax money get worse at the state level. So, let us hear it again from you about the wonderful, pure, high moral standards of American business and politics!
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DRAGON
        I think it would be more interesting to hear why you think there is *literally* nothing good coming from China.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DRAGON
        Yeah. Almost every non-food item you own. And loans so that our government can operate on borrowed time, lol.
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