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The namesake: Tesla sues Tesla Power in India over name

NRI PULSE STAFF REPORT

In a legal battle over brand identity, Tesla, Elon Musk’s American electric car giant, has taken legal action against a US-headquartered Indian battery manufacturer for allegedly infringing its trademark. The dispute centers around the company’s use of the name “Tesla Power” to promote its products in India.

Tesla filed the lawsuit in New Delhi, seeking damages and a permanent injunction against Tesla Power India Pvt Ltd. Musk’s company claims that despite issuing a cease-and-desist notice in April 2022, the battery maker which is popular in India, continued to advertise its products under the “Tesla Power” brand, reports Reuters.

The website of Tesla Power USA LLC says it has a significant presence in India and is recognized for its affordable battery solutions. The company also has a website in India.

Tesla Power USA is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur John H. Vratsinas. Headquartered in Delaware, the company has offices in Gurugram, Haryana, and Dubai, according to its website.

During the court hearing at the Delhi High Court, Tesla argued that the Indian company’s use of the name could confuse consumers, as it is associated with Tesla’s electric vehicles. However, Tesla Power India Pvt Ltd defended its position, stating that its primary business is manufacturing lead-acid batteries and that it has no intention of entering the electric vehicle market.

According to court records, Tesla Power USA, Inc., a Delaware-based company established in 2006, has been accused by Tesla of also using the trade names “Tesla Power” and “Tesla Power USA”.

In a media interview last year, Mr. Kavinder Khurana, Managing Director of Tesla Power USA, highlighted the company’s operations in India, including the introduction of automotive batteries, inverter batteries, UPS batteries, industrial batteries, and other products. He stated that Tesla Power USA has served over a million customers in India, with a revenue turnover exceeding 225 Crores.

The legal dispute underscores the importance of brand protection in the competitive electric vehicle and battery market, with both sides preparing to present their arguments in the coming weeks.

The judge presiding over the case has granted the Indian company three weeks to submit written responses after reviewing the documents presented in its defense.

The name had caused confusion a couple of years ago when a Noida-based start-up, Oxyneuron India Private Limited, had to clarify that it was Tesla Power USA that placed an order for its portable inverters and not Musk’s Tesla which is known in India as Tesla India Motors And Energy Private Limited.

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