Tesla Motors Settles Trademark Argument

Tesla Motors' applications for the Tesla trademark in the European Union have been halted because of resistance from Tesla Holding, a 90-year-old supplier of communications and broadcasting equipment.

Tesla Motors has now settled the matter, however, by filing amended trademark applications with the EU’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. The Czech maker of Soviet-era black and white televisions had filed oppositions to Tesla Motors' applications for the Tesla mark in 2007 and earlier this year, according to OHIM data. Those oppositions have now been withdrawn.

Tesla Holding is what remained of the state-owned Tesla empire that produced televisions and transceivers for radio and TV broadcasts in the communist era. After communism fell, the company was privatized. In 2007 it was acquired by Prague-based investment firm Kilcullen Kapital Partners.

The Czech firm now produces technologies for water treatment and military communications, while guarding a trademark it claims to have registered in dozens of countries.

After recent conversations between people at both companies, Tesla Motors has amended its trademark applications to overcome any objection of Tesla Holding,” said Tesla Motors spokeswoman Rachel Konrad.

Tesla Holding chief executive Robert Nemec said that his company has withdrawn its oppositions, adding that Tesla Motors' amended trademark applications now better reflect the “different business focus of our companies.

If we cannot resolve the oppositions and thereby secure registered [trademark] rights in the European Union, this will reduce our ability to challenge third-party users of the Tesla trademark and dilute the value of the mark as our exclusive brand name,” said Tesla Motors in a regulatory filing for its initial public offering of shares, which took place in June.
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