EV Startup: You Can’t Have Our Patents!

Bucking the recent trend of donating patents relating to electric vehicle technology, EV startup Whisker Electric announced that it would maintain its patents as private intellectual property.

In a statement made today, the company’s CEO, Waylon Tusk, had this to say:

Whisker is totally committed to protecting, defending, and enforcing its intellectual property.  Accordingly, we will not donate any of our patents.  We are very paranoid about big car companies copying our technology.  So we’re going to sue anyone who tries to use our technology in good faith, bad faith, or any other faith.  We don’t care what this may mean for the development of the electric vehicle industry.

“You can’t have our patents!  You can’t even license them!  I don’t care how much you want them or how much you’re willing to pay!” added CTO and Co-founder Norm Bradelson in a surprisingly testy conference call with reporters today.

The news from Whisker is in sharp contrast to a recent string of announcements by EV maker Tesla and two major automobile manufacturers either completely opening their EV and related patent portfolios or opening them for no fee licensing or paid licensing.

However, the reaction has been swift and positive, with the company receiving multiple unsolicited offers of major funding rounds from respected VC firms within minutes of Whisker’s announcement.

In addition, Whisker’s VP of Business Development, Austin Milbarge, told Green Patent Blog that over 10,000 new pre-orders have been made today for the company’s latest model EV.

The company has also received a flood of job applications from young engineers, including some current and former Tesla employees, particular those that were named inventors on Tesla’s patents.

The news even made it into the American presidential campaign when a reporter asked Donald Trump, the front runner for the Republican nomination, his view of Whisker’s announcement.  Trump responded, “I like these guys.  This is my kind of selfish, short-sighted capitalism.  Though personally I prefer to drive a Hummer.”

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.