Tesla vs Tesla: US carmaker sues Indian namesake over copying trademark

Amidst the launch rumours of Tesla EVs in India, the American brand has become a hot topic of discussion for another reason in the country. The company faces trademark infringement from an Indian brand and has engaged in legal action against 'Tesla Power India'.

Image: Tesla

Tesla is in dispute with Tesla Power India Pvt. Ltd., a private company operating from an Indian office in Gurgaon, Haryana. The Indian company also has offices in the US, located in Wilmington, Delaware and Hollywood, Florida, with the former serving as its global headquarters.

Tesla has accused the Indian business of illegally using ‘Tesla Power’ and ‘Tesla Power USA’ trademarks in a case registered in the Delhi High Court.

After thoroughly examining the court documents, electrive has learned that Tesla seeks a permanent injunction and damages for infringement of trademark, passing off, and unfair trade competition from Tesla Power India Pvt. Ltd. Tesla.

The Indian company accused of infringing Tesla’s intellectual property has said in its defence that it is predominantly in the lead acid battery business for automobiles, inverters, and UPS, among other things, and that it has no intention of manufacturing EVs.

The Delhi High Court hasn’t concluded the matter and scheduled the next hearing on 22 May.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk planned to visit India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 April, just two days after the polling began for the national elections in the country. It was widely anticipated that Musk would finally announce the launch of Tesla EVs in India during the meeting. However, citing undisclosed obligations, he postponed the meeting indefinitely just one day before. The last-minute cancellation of the meeting and Musk showing up in China just a week later wasn’t received well, or that’s at least how Indian media portrayed it.

Tesla officials have been talking about entering India since 2014, keeping aspiring EV and luxury car customers hooked with hopes of buying some of the world’s best EVs for a decade now. In April 2016, Tesla started accepting reservations for the Model 3. For various reasons, the company has, time and again, delayed its Indian entry. The company recently pushed back the global launch of its highly anticipated $25,000 (€23,000) EV, which is likely to become its first made-in-India EV in the future.

The first Tesla EV arriving in India is likely to be the Model Y, imported in small numbers from the company’s existing factory in Grünheide, Germany. According to a report Reuters published on 4 April, production of the first India-bound Tesla EV is underway at the German factory.

Tesla manufactures only the Model Y at this production facility. SUVs are way more popular than sedans in India, which rules out the possibility of the first EV being the Model 3. The Model S and Model X are left-hand drive-only EVs and would be too expensive for India. Tesla may commence sales in the country during the festive season in the fourth quarter of the year.



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