After years of fighting, Tesla has finally put its trademark dispute in China with businessman Zhan Baosheng behind it, thanks to an undisclosed settlement. The news comes at a perfect time for the automaker, which is still setting up its dealers there.

According to an email from Tesla cited by Bloomberg, the two sides came to an agreement "completely and amicably," but the business isn't revealing what it cost to resolve the conflict. As part of the settlement, Zhan is also transferring his ownership of the tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn over to the company. "Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla," said the statement, according to Bloomberg. "Collectively, these actions remove any doubt with respect to Tesla's undisputed rights to its trademarks in China."

Zhan had claimed to hold the trademark on the Tesla name in China since 2009, but he was appealing a ruling by the country's courts invalidating those rights. The situation heated up even further in July when Zhan sued the automaker for trademark infringement and asked for 23.9 million yuan ($3.9 million) in damages, plus for the company shut down all of its operations there. Tesla had reportedly already attempted to settle with him years ago for 2 million yuan ($325,000 at current rates), but Zhan countered with a figure of the equivalent of over $32 million.

Tesla's Chinese business is absolutely booming at the moment. Since starting sales in April, the company is predicted to have moved around 1,000 examples of its Model S there at around $120,000 a pop. According to its second quarter financial release, it's only selling cars in four cities currently and expanding to two more in the near future.


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  • 18 Comments
      bluepongo1
      • 4 Months Ago

      Trying to bog down Tesla Motors with litigation untill you can reverse-engineer one seems to be a common status quo boosting ploy. http://www.wired.com/2014/07/go-inside-the-lab-where-gm-tears-apart-its-competitors-cars/

        bluepongo1
        • 4 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1

        http://www.technologyreview.com/news/529651/stacking-cells-could-make-solar-as-cheap-as-natural-gas/

      Louis MacKenzie
      • 4 Months Ago
      Just another scammer/squatter from China. They have no pride in doing business there. Just eye for the next dollar or dime. All Chinese citizens should be ashamed of people like that even getting admitted for a court case. But most of them feel there's nothing to be ashamed about their HiPhones and other rip-off products in existence.
        Spec
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Louis MacKenzie

        Like people are any different here.

        Levine Levine
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Louis MacKenzie

        During the internet craze of the late 90s, hundreds of Americans registered URL domain with popular abbreviated corporate names before the real corporations got on board the internet. Later, they sold the dot-com names to the corporations for hefty profits. Nobody condemned these American capitalists for thinking ahead. But when the Chinese capitalists do the same, many  Americans are up in arms, indignant, disgusted, and called the Chinese derogatory names.

        Brainwashed by anti-China propaganda, arrogant Americans are quick to blame and condemn.

      Really
      • 4 Months Ago
      Sales are booming? 1000 units so far in a country with billions of people..... Pretty laughable!
      purrpullberra
      • 4 Months Ago

      Well "at no cost" to Tesla was what the ruling was going to be anyway so this was a way for the troll to 'save face'.  This dude was going to get his butt handed to him publicly and he realized he's be humiliated and hated by all the Tesla fans in China.

      There was no way for him to win unless he values a terrible reputation.

      Looks like he was talked into cutting his losses.

      CComboBreaker
      • 4 Months Ago

      $10 says that shortly afterwards the Chinese government will ban all sales of Tesla after they realize that Tesla is an American company since they're in a habit of banning all things American.

        purrpullberra
        • 4 Months Ago
        @CComboBreaker

        Yeah, China didn't know that already.

        And China just decreed that the government HAS to buy 30% EV's.  Tesla included.

      Avinash Machado
      • 4 Months Ago

      Good news.

      danfred311
      • 4 Months Ago
      32million is a bit steep. I'm guessing he got a cool million.
        superlightv12
        • 4 Months Ago
        @danfred311

        The Chinese government & Tesla have agreed to allow him to continue living.

        NestT
        • 4 Months Ago
        @danfred311

        "Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla,"

          FrosenCarrotz
          • 4 Months Ago
          @NestT

          I think that means he's cancelling the trademarks himself and not asking Tesla to pay for the process of having them cancelled.

        Grendal
        • 4 Months Ago
        @danfred311

        I'll bet he settled for Tesla's original offer.

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