Tesla is looking to begin selling its all-electric vehicles on the Chinese market, but a trademark issue has stalled the company’s plans.
Tesla had hoped to begin selling its Model S sedan at the start of this year in China, but the trademark issues have slowed the process, leaving Tesla’s only Chinese store front boarded up. Despite this, the company started excepting reservations for the car this week.
Zhan Baosheng, a businessman in the southern China province of Guangdong owns the trademark to the name ‘Tesla’ in China, according to an agent with the agency that registered the name, Jinga trademark. Zhan registered the name back in 2006 in both English and Chinese, and currently runs a Tesla themed website (homepage seen above). The site features the Tesla logo, and photos of a car that bears little resemblance to the Model S along with a statement that reads “[our] dream is to build China’s best electric car.”
Legal experts consulted by Automotive News say that Tesla may have to buy out the trademark. China does have laws that protect globally renowned brands, but Tesla may be too young to fit into that category. Apple was stuck in a similar case in China which ended with the American company paying out $60 million to trademark the iPad.
[Source: Automotive News]