On January 31, 2019, Elon Musk made all Tesla patents public to encourage the production of electric cars. This move has been in the works ever since a blog post went live on Tesla's blog site in 2014, where Elon Musk offered Tesla's patents to anyone willing to help fight climate change. He went on interviews claiming that he would not file lawsuits against anyone using the patents. But to understand the gravity of what he has done, it's important to understand the build-up to this moment.
The Tesla patents were originally made public in 2014 and Elon Musk said at the time that even competitors had started using Tesla's patents. He made the patents public as a point of advocating the expanding electric car market. One of the initial goals of making the patent's open source back in 2014, was to ensure that more third-party companies would design charging stations which could accommodate Tesla cars and also the other electric cars on the market. And while Tesla have accepted the use of their technology in open arms, it is still not a legal and binding document.
Both announcements came from blog posts from Elon Musk himself where he promised that Tesla will not file lawsuits against anyone who, “in good faith”, wants to use their technology. Perhaps the move was somewhat strategic as, on the same exact date of January 31, 2019, US prosecutors filed a case against a Chinese national for stealing secrets from Apple's self-driving vehicle project.Elon Musk wants for the electric car market to grow above what Tesla can achieve themselves and beyond the realm of limitations of patents. Electric cars reached a milestone of 5 million cars sold in December 2018. This number only stands to increase on account of Elon Musk's bold actions.
Tesla have around 300 patents ranging from car battery designs, structure, charging and cooling systems. And with the constant work Tesla puts in towards achieving more efficiency and more power from their batteries, electric car designs will only keep on getting better.
All of Tesla's patents are accessible via https://patents.justia.com/company/tesla so if you want to start building your own electric cars, then look no further than 16 pages of over 300 patents, dating as far back as 1974.