Tesla vs. Tesla: Battle of Trademarks Unfolds in Delhi High Court


In a legal showdown emblematic of corporate clashes, global electric vehicle behemoth Tesla Inc. has initiated legal proceedings against Indian firm Tesla Power India Private Limited, alleging trademark infringement, passing off, and unfair trade practices in a lawsuit filed before the Delhi High Court [Tesla Inc v Tesla Power India Private Limited]. The crux of the dispute revolves around the unauthorized use of the "TESLA" trademark by Tesla Power India, coupled with its purported foray into the electric vehicles market, a move contested by the Elon Musk-owned Tesla Inc.

According to court documents, Tesla Inc. raised objections to Tesla Power India's advertisements heralding its entry into the electric vehicles domain, signaling a breach of cease-and-desist directives issued as early as April 2022. Despite subsequent exchanges between the parties until March 2023, Tesla Power India persisted in its promotional endeavors under the contentious trademark.

During the court proceedings, Tesla Power India's proprietor furnished an undertaking disavowing any intent to manufacture electric vehicles and pledging to refrain from marketing third-party electric vehicles under the "TESLA" trademark or any derivative thereof. The court duly acknowledged this undertaking, binding the defendant to its stipulations.

In response to Tesla's legal salvo, the court issued summons and notices to Tesla Power India and its proprietors, mandating a formal reply within three weeks. The case is slated for further deliberation on May 22, 2024, signaling an impending legal saga poised to unfold in the corridors of justice.

"Counsel for defendants wishes to file a response and has handed up a set of documents in support of their defense. The same may be filed before the Court, as part of their reply to this application, with a copy to the opposing counsel, within a period of 3 weeks from today. Rejoinder, if any, be filed thereafter before the next date. List on 22nd May 2024," the Court directed, underscoring the procedural roadmap for adjudication. 

The impending legal confrontation underscores the nuanced intricacies of trademark law in the burgeoning electric vehicles sector, with ramifications extending beyond the courtroom to the commercial landscape at large.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News writer, MIT ADT University