A bizarre dispute between Tesla and a businessman in China continues, as Bloomberg reports that Zhan Baosheng has sued the company over his claim that he has the rights to the Tesla name and logo in China. Tesla asserts, though, that Zhan actually stole the trademark from Tesla after the company had already registered and used it in China, and that this lawsuit is simple a “last-ditch effort in his unsuccessful scheme.”
Last year, when Tesla entered the Chinese market, Zhan alleged that he already registered the Tesla name and logo for his own use in English and Chinese. When Tesla pursued legal action, Chinese regulators ruled that Zhan’s trademarks were invalid, and Tesla went forward with its entrance into the Chinese market. Now, Zhan is appealing this decision, and is asking Tesla to shutter its Chinese showrooms, service, and supercharging facilities in China, not to mention paying him $3.9 million in compensation.
Tesla is not taking this lawsuit seriously, as the company said in a statement that his lawsuit “is without any conceivable merit.” In fact, Tesla previously sued Zhan for compensation for his theft of the company’s property, and says it is confident that this appeal will be unsuccessful. The lawsuit is also not affecting the company’s business in China, as Tesla is already selling cars to customers in china and delivered the first Tesla Model S sedans to customers there in April.
Tesla's statement concludes: "We have been selling cars [in China] and are now delivering cars and will continue to do so without interference caused by Mr. Zhan’s attempted theft of our intellectual property."
The lawsuit was just filed last week, so stay tuned for more news about this extra obstacle in Tesla’s emerging presence in China.