Tesla Reaches Settlement Chinese Trademark Fight

Posted by at 3:59 pm on August 6, 2014

Tesla Motors Inc. said it resolved a trademark dispute in China that threatened to complicate the company’s plans to increase sales in the world’s largest auto market.

Tesla and Zhan Baosheng, who had registered rights to the carmaker’s name in China before it entered that market, came to an agreement to settle their dispute “completely and amicably,” the carmaker said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. Zhan also will transfer website names he’d registered in China including tesla.cn and teslamotors.cn to the carmaker, Tesla said.

Liz Jarvis-Shean, a Tesla spokeswoman, declined to discuss financial terms related to the domain-name transfer.

“Mr. Zhan has agreed to have the Chinese authorities complete the process of canceling the Tesla trademarks that he had registered or applied for, at no cost to Tesla,” the company said. “Collectively, these actions remove any doubt with respect to Tesla’s undisputed rights to its trademarks in China.”

The trademark fight for Tesla, maker of the Model S sedan, echoed experiences in China for multinational companies including Apple Inc. and Burberry Group Plc that also clashed over their branding rights in the world’s second-largest economy. While Zhan sought to use the Tesla name in China for vehicles, his Cengceng Inc. business is a skin-care company.

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