This Guy Sued Tesla Over Trademark Infringement in China

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See the man holding the trademark paper with the Tesla label? His name is Zhan Baosheng and according to Chinese media, he filed a lawsuit against the California-based electric carmaker on July 3, alleging trademark infringement. The 36-year old man is requesting that Tesla shut down its showrooms, service centers, supercharging facilities and all marketing activities in the country.

Oh, he also demanded that Tesla pay him…23.9 million Yuan or about US$3.85 million / €2.8 million in compensation for his trouble. A court receipt obtained by Bloomberg News says he paid a 161,500 Yuan (US$26,000 / €19,100) filing fee for the lawsuit.

According to China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce, or SAIC, which is responsible for trademarks, Baosheng applied to trademark the Tesla name in English in September of 2006, three years…after the automaker was founded, and local authorities granted it in June of 2009 for a period of 10 years.

Bloomberg reported that, later on, he applied for additional Tesla-related trademarks such as the brand's logo. However, in July of 2013, SAIC’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board cancelled his Tesla-trademarks at the request of the American automaker. Apparently, that wasn't enough to stop Baosheng who also owns the Tesla.cn website address that points to his personal Twitter account, so now, he's suing the company.

"We have brought multiple actions against Zhan on account of his theft of our trademarks, and various Chinese authorities that have ruled on the matter have agreed with Tesla," company spokesman Simon Sproule told the news agency. "Zhan’s lawsuit will not stop us in any way from operating in China," he added.

The report says that Tesla tried to settle the matter out of court by offering Baosheng $50,000 to buy the trademark in November of 2012, before increasing the sum to 2 million Yan or US$322,500 in May of 2013, but he rejected both offers.

"Tesla is violating my rights every day by selling their vehicles in China," Baosheng told reporters last week after filing the lawsuit. "I want them to say sorry."

By John Halas

Story References: Bloomberg News , Photos: Twitter/Zhan Baosheng

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