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.