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Somebody Already Owns the Tesla Trademark in China (TSLA)

Want China Times is reporting that for Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) to enter the China market, it will likely have to make somebody very rich–the person who already owns the Tesla trademark.

Zhan Baosheng trademarked “Tesla” for land, air, and marine transportation vehicles in 12 categories in 2009. Tesla purchased another trademark from Qiao Weiwei on May 6 of this year but it only covers rail vehicles, sleighs, airplanes and ships.

Because of this, Chinese authorities rejected its application in 2009 and the company is effectively blocked from introducing its brand to the Chinese market. According to CEO Elon Musk, the company tried to purchase the trademark from Baosheng for $326,000 but he wanted 100 times that amount.

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It’s next step is to take it to the Chinese courts but if Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL)’s experiences are any guide, Tesla isn’t likely to fare well. Apple tried to take the “IPAD” trademark from a China-based monitor maker but after losing the court battle, agreed to pay $60 million.

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Disclosure: At the time of this writing, the author had no position in the company mentioned.

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