Tesla responds to Nikola lawsuit claiming they patented a stolen semi truck design

Nikola One Semi
Nikola One semi truck at its unveiling in 2016

The charges keep piling up on embattled electric truck maker Nikola Motors after Tesla accused them of stealing the design of their Nikola One semi truck.

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Nikola first introduced the electric semi in 2016, and soon after sued Tesla for $2 billion claiming the California automaker had infringed on its patented design.

Tesla filed its official response to the lawsuit earlier this week, and turned the tables on Nikola by saying their claim is invalid because they stole the design themselves.

The California automaker says Nikola’s patent is based off the Road Runner concept truck designed by Adrian Mudri. That design was part of the 2010 Michelin Design Challenge, and was later selected to be displayed at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, reports Ars Technica.

Road Runner concept semi truck
Image via Tesla

Tesla claims Nikola founder and former executive chairman Trevor Milton met with Mudri in 2014 of 2015, who is currently the head of design at the Croatian car company Rimac Automobili. They go on to allege Milton knew about the design at the time of the patent application, and by failing to acknowledge Mudri invalidates their patent.

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To support their case, Tesla also points out the several key elements from Nikola’s design are not unique and have been featured on other semi trucks for years. These include the wraparound windshield and general streamlined shape.

Tesla similar trucks to Nikola design
Image via Tesla

A Nikola spokesperson said the company will respond to claims, adding, “Nikola alleges that Tesla’s semi-truck infringes not only certain Nikola design patents and utility patents, but also its trade dress.

This is only one incident in a series of many recently that have turned Nikola Motors upside down. Founder Trevor Milton was forced to quit after a report by Hindenburg Research said his company was built on a series of intricate lies and has no proprietary technology.

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