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Tesla vs Tesla: US Carmaker Sues Indian Namesake for Infringing its Trademark

Lawsuit seeks damages and a permanent injunction to stop use of Tesla brand name

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on May 4, 2024, 11:53:05

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tesla, elon musk, trademark, trademark infringement, intellectual property, indian namesake

Elon Musk's carmaker Tesla has sued an Indian battery maker for infringing its trademark by using the brand name "Tesla Power" to promote its products, seeking damages and a permanent injunction against the company from a New Delhi judge.

Tesla in a hearing at the Delhi High Court this week said the Indian company had continued advertising its products with the "Tesla Power" brand despite a cease-and-desist notice sent in April 2022, according to details of the proceedings posted on the court website on Friday.

During the hearing, the Indian company, Tesla Power India Pvt Ltd, argued its main business is to make "lead acid batteries" and it has no intention of making electric vehicles. The judge allowed the Indian firm three weeks to submit written responses after it handed over a set of documents in support of its defence, the court record shows.

Musk's Tesla is incorporated in Delaware, and it has accused the Indian company of using trade names "Tesla Power" and "Tesla Power USA". The court record included screenshots of a website that showed that Tesla Power USA LLC was also headquartered in Delaware and had been "acknowledged for being a pioneer and leader in introducing affordable batteries" with "a very strong presence in India".

A Tesla Power representative told Reuters it has been present in India much before Musk's Tesla and had all government approvals. “We have never claimed to be related to Elon Musk's Tesla,” Tesla Power's Manoj Pahwa said.

Tesla told the judge it discovered the Indian company was using its brand name in 2022 and has unsuccessfully tried stop it from doing so, forcing it to file the lawsuit. The case comes after Musk cancelled his planned visit to India on April 21 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Days later, Musk made a surprise visit to China and made progress towards rolling out its advanced driver assistance package, a move that many Indian commentators called a snub. The Tesla India trademark case will next be heard on May 22.

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