Innovation Asset Blog

Tesla goes nameless in China over trademark dispute

Tesla Motors Inc is selling its Model S sedans in China, but it has yet to choose a Chinese name, according to Yahoo News. This stems from a trademark dispute with a local businessman, Zhan Baosheng, who registered the common Chinese name for the firm - Te Si La - in 2006 and will not relinquish the trademark to the automaker. His agent, Guangdong-based Jinda Trademark Co, reported he has no interest in selling the trademark.

Tesla Motors is currently using its English name in China, though the dispute has sparked numerous speculations about alternative names the automaker could use, including "Te Su Le," which means "happiness in boosting speed."

This situation has occurred before with other trademarks in China - including iPad, the name of which a Chinese company registered before Apple did. According to legal experts, it might be difficult for Tesla to come to any resolution for this dispute except buying out Zhan or consenting to use another name.

Tesla Motors opened a store in downtown Beijing and has a Chinese-language ecommerce site for the sales of its Model S sedan in the country, and the trademark controversy is unresolved. Yahoo News spoke to Tesla salesman Ma Li, who confirmed Tesla does not yet have a Chinese name and said he is unsure when or indeed whether there will be one.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.