Elon Musk announced Thursday he had released all of the electric carmaker Tesla's patents, as part of an effort to fight climate change.
In a blog post, the colorful billionaire founder of Tesla promised the company "will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology."
It was a remarkable move in an industry where the smallest idea or seed of invention is carefully guarded to protect its monetary value.
And it in fact came on the same day US prosecutors charged a Chinese national with stealing secrets from Apple's self-driving vehicle project.
"Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport," Musk said. "If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal."
In fact Musk said he was now skeptical of patents which too often only served "to stifle progress" and helped enrich giant corporations and lawyers rather than inventors.
With car production continuing at 100 million a year "it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis," Musk said.