A federal judge has administratively closed a lawsuit against patent infringement of 2 billion. Dollars that started hydrogen car transport that Nikola brought against Tesla in 2018, which mainly pulled it out of the Northern District Court in California’s dock because the two companies stopped responding. Nikola has until October 6 to show the reason why the case should continue. Otherwise, the case of Nikola v. Tesla will be dismissed.
Nikola “has lost the ball and this action in 2018 is fading without explanation or seemingly good cause,” Judge James Donato wrote to show cause published this week. “Therefore, the case is administratively closed. Nikola is ordered to show cause in writing before October 6, 2021, so the case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. ”
Both Nikola and Tesla have apparently stopped responding to some of the court’s requests over the past few months. “On July 7, 2021, the Court asked the parties to plan new guidelines and require consultation dates for the construction. Neither party responded, “Donato wrote. “On September 2, 2021, the court adjourned further cases on claims construction due to lack of response. At the date of this ruling, neither party has notified the Court of proposed new hearing dates. ”
Michael Rhodes, a lawyer representing Tesla, declined to comment. A spokesman for Nikola declined to comment. Attorneys for Nikola did not respond to requests for comment.
Nikola, on the other hand, has had to spend a lot of time and money putting out some major fires in the past year. Shortly after the announcement in 2020 — and almost immediately after General Motors announced a plan to take a minority stake in the startup — Nikolas founder and former CEO Trevor Milton was charged with fraud by short-selling research firm Hindenburg Research. Among the charges, Milton was accused of forging a video of Nikola’s truck driving down a road (it was actually rolling down a hill).
Nikola conducted his own investigation into the allegations (and found many of them true), but so did the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice. Milton was charged with several counts of fraud in July. He is currently in custody but has maintained his innocence.
In the original lawsuit filed in March 2018, Nikola Tesla accused of infringing patents that the startup had filed for its hydrogen-powered large rig. Nikola tried to make the case that Tesla’s own Tesla Semi used the same enclosed windshield, center entrance doors and aerodynamic hull, among other details. The startup also claimed that a Tesla recruiter had tried to crib Nikola’s chief engineer, claiming that this was proof that Tesla was interested in Nikola’s design. By allegedly stealing the design, Nikola said that Tesla was causing “market confusion” and that letting the infringement continue would cost the startup more than $ 2 billion in sales. Tesla said at the time that it was “obviously obvious that there is no profit” to the lawsuit.
The two companies have spent much of the last three years arguing over which specific patents would make it a lawsuit. (At one point last year, Tesla tried to argue that Nikola stole the design of its own truck from the Croatian hypercar company Rimac.) In April 2020, Tesla lost a bid with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to invalidate some of those patents. Milton tweeted at the time: “Two billion dollar lawsuit is moving forward. We will defend our company’s IP, no matter who it is. ”