May 2 (UPI) — Hydrogen truck startup Nikola is suing Tesla Motors for $2 billion, saying the electric car maker copied its patents for its electric semi.
Nikola filed the suit Tuesday in Arizona federal court, which alleges Tesla doesn’t have patents for the truck’s design.
“The Tesla Semi design is substantially similar to Nikola’s unique design, and Tesla copied Nikola’s patents,” the lawsuit states.
Nikola notes multiple aspects of Tesla’s electric semi it says infringes on its patents — including a mid-entry door, fuselage and wrap windshield that’s designed to give the driver an unobstructed view of the road.
Nikola said it unveiled the design of its semi, the Nikola One, in 2016 — more than a year before Tesla revealed its version.
The startup says Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw the Nikola One and announced 72 days later that his automaker was in “early stages of development” for an electric semi.
According to the suit, Tesla intended to bring “confusion” to the market and has “has harmed Nikola’s ability to attract investors and partners” — as it can now choose to partner with Tesla to have an alternative fuel truck.
Tesla responded, telling The Verge, that it’s “patently obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit.”