Tesla Ends Fight for “Model E” Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on May 15, 2014

teslaLos Angeles – After a lengthy legal bout with Ford Motors, Tesla has finally decided to pull the plug on its plan to obtain trademark protection for “Model E” in connection to its next generation sedan. The U.S. based electric auto maker filed its trademark application for the “Model E” name in August of last year, ruffling Ford’s feathers over the use of the name. Ford then filed its own trademark application in December 2013 asserting its own rights in the trademark.

Ford predicated its claims against Tesla on the notion that Tesla was improperly using the “Model [insert letter of the alphabet]” formula, from which its iconic Model T started the automobile revolution. Indeed, over the years, Ford rolled out several cars according to this naming scheme, including the Model A, Model B, Model F, Model K and Model R. Interestingly, though Ford doesn’t offer a Model E, its threats against Tesla seem to have paid off.

Just last month, Tesla filed express abandonments with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO’), effectively terminating its efforts to trademark the name. A Tesla spokesperson said of the decision, “The matter has been resolved amicably,” though he declined to elaborate as to whether or not Ford had demanded that Tesla abandon its application.

Since its inception in 2003, Tesla has introduced the Model S, Roadster and Model X. Given its filing of trademark applications covering three classes in 2013 for “Model E”, it was widely assumed that this would be the name of its next model, which is rumored to go into production later this year. Tesla founder Elon Musk has fueled anticipation for the next car, claiming that it will be accessible to a much wider consumer-base than other Tesla models, with a sticker price of under $35,000.

With no clues for a replacement name offered by the Palo Alto based manufacturer, there is much left in the air for Tesla at this time. Apart from the trademark dispute with Ford, the company is busy gearing up for the building of what is being termed its “gigantafactory”, where it will mass produce its lithium batteries. Some experts have been skeptical of Tesla’s plans for production, with one recent report claiming that the company will not be able to sell enough cars to keep the giant facility up and running. Tesla executives have countered that the $5 billion factory will bring down electric car battery costs and thereby make electric cars more affordable for the masses. It has not been decided where the complex will be located, but rumored potential sites include Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

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