Nikola Stole Design for Truck Patent, Claims Tesla in Court

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Nikola CEO Trevor Milton recently stepped down amid claims of fraud and deception. Now, Tesla has had its say, and it’s not dissimilar from what others have been claiming about Nikola.

Wednesday, as reported by Ars Technica, Tesla filed a court response in the ongoing case, saying that Nikola stole the design for its semi-truck from a 2010 design concept, then patented it.

In the legal filing, Tesla writes “Adriano Mudri is the designer of the Road Runner concept truck.” They continue, “The Road Runner concept truck was entered into the 2010 Michelin Design Challenge, and was selected for display at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.”

Adriano Mudri, the designer of the original Road Runner truck concept, debuted the design at the 2010 North American Auto Show. Then, in 2014 and/or 2015, Tesla claims Milton met with Mudri, who know works for Croatian automaker Rimac, before applying for a patent with “significant inventive contributions” from the original Road Runner. Nikola then used that patent to sue Tesla, according to the court filing.

Nikola told Ars Technica, that it would “review Tesla’s counterclaims and respond appropriately.” It also included that “Nikola alleges that Tesla’s semitruck infringes not only certain Nikola design patents and utility patents, but also its trade dress.”

Evidently, the scandal has made it difficult for Nikola to secure a network of partners. Still, it’d be hard for any company to want to partner with Nikola after rolling its truck down a hill to simulate its “powerchain strength” – painting it as anything but fraud would require some extremely broad brush strokes.

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