Now Nikola Motors has announced it is suing Tesla for $2 billion Dollars in damages, alleging that Musk's company infringed on USA patents received by Nikola for cab design features.
Nikola filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Arizona federal court.
Founded in the year 2014, Nikola launched two of its products in May, 2016 which includes an electric four-wheel offroad vehicle and a hydrogen-electric semi truck.
The suit alleged that Tesla infringed a number of Nikola One's patented features, including the wrap windshield (US patent number D811,968), the fuselage (D811,944), and the mid-entry door (D816,004). The Nikola One truck has a 0.37 drag coefficient, while the Tesla truck has a drag coefficient of 0.36, a fact advertised by Tesla, the lawsuit says. By August 2016, Nikola said it had more than 300 orders totalling over 7,000 trucks-a value of $2.3 billion.
Almost three months after publishing its design, Nikola says Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed his company was in the early stages of developing its own all-electric semi.
Nikola says that Tesla's truck is causing "confusion in the market", and claims that "Tesla's infringement has harmed Nikola's ability to attract investors and partners because investors can now partner with Tesla to have an alternative fuel semi-truck".
The Utah-based Nikola, which shares a namesake with the California automaker founded by Elon Musk, claims that Tesla's electric semi infringes its U.S. Patent Nos.
Still, on November 16, Tesla unveiled its truck and "almost immediately" received orders and saw its market share jump by about $2 billion, the suit says.
The lawsuit, filed in Arizona, follows a cease-and-desist letter from Nikola to Tesla in November past year, pointing out similar features, including a wraparound windshield, mid-entry door and aerodynamic fuselage.
The hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle startup filed design patents on its Class 8 truck in December 2015 and showed off a real-world prototype in December 2016 (you can read Ars' coverage of that announcement here). The suit claimed Tesla's market value jumped by $2 billion after the Tesla Semi was unveiled. For example, Tesla has had problems with its batteries starting fires and its autonomous features causing fatal accidents.
Poaching employees is one thing, although not illegal, but for projects that are eerily similar, this seems to imply much more.
For now, Tesla is shrugging off the lawsuit, with a spokesperson telling the Verge that "it's patently obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit".
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