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Tesla Motors sues Roadster designer for copying hybrid car

Posted: 18 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:hybrid automotive? electric car? automotive design?

Tesla Motors has filed a suit against the automotive designer it hired to style the body and interior of its electric-hybrid four-door sedan, after the designer disclosed plans for a competing vehicle, Reuters reported.

The suit accuses designer Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler, the chief operating officer of Fisker's design company Fisker Coachbuild, of fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract for their year-long effort in 2007 to design the interior and body of the Tesla's WhiteStar.

According to the lawsuit, the electric automaker paid Fisker nearly $800,000 and gave him access to its trade secrets, business plan and proprietary engineering data developed during production of its first vehicle, the Tesla Roadster.

Tesla further charges Fisker of purposely providing substandard designs for the sedan, which resulted in a six-month delay of its release to 2010, while using Tesla's data and keeping Fisker's best designs for his own vehicle.

Shortly after finishing the services for Tesla, Fisker and Koehler announced they were developing Fisker Automotive and will release a four-door hybrid-electric sedan called the Karma.

The suit seeks the court to ban Fisker from using Tesla trade secrets and confidential information in his car design as well as award Tesla lost profits and punitive damages of an unspecified amount.

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