Elon Musk's Open Innovation: Tesla, Intellectual Property, and Climate Change
Matthew Rimmer (Ed.) Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice, Singapore: Springer, 2018, 515-551.
Posted: 24 May 2018 Last revised: 28 Oct 2018
Date Written: May 12, 2018
This chapter considers Elon Musk and his company Tesla, and evaluates their statements in respect of intellectual property, open innovation, and climate change. It is worth situating the story in the context of the growing literature on intellectual property and clean technologies. This paper considers Tesla Motors’ shifting strategies in respect of patent law, policy, and practice. The work explores Tesla Motors’ embrace of an open source philosophy, and the motivations behind this business strategy. The chapter analyses the larger issues about business development relating to electric vehicles and clean technologies. It examines how Tesla’s rivals have responded – particularly looking at Toyota Motors. This paper concludes by considering Tesla Motors in light of larger initiatives in respect of clean technologies, renewable energy and climate change. Of particular note is sustainable transportation; the development of a Gigafactory; Elon Musk’s complementary work at SolarCity in promoting solar technologies; and the big battery project in South Australia. The chapter concludes with a consideration of Elon Musk’s advocacy for the adoption and implementation of the Paris Agreement 2015.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Clean technologies, Electric vehicles, solar power, open source licensing, open innovation, Tesla, Elon Musk, renewable energy, patent law, trade secrets, The Paris Agreement, Battery storage, SolarCity, SpaceX, Tesla Motors
JEL Classification: K00, K31, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation