This is a potentially world changing move.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said Thursday that it won't penalize any other company that wants to make products based on its patented technology for long-range electric cars.
Musk said in a blog post that he is taking the action to encourage the auto industry to make more electric cars like Tesla's Model S.
"Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology," he wrote.
He says that technology leadership has been shown historically not to be driven by patents.
"Technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world's most talented engineers," he wrote. "We believe that applying the open source philosophy to our patents will strengthen, rather than diminish, Tesla's position in this regard."
He says he is taking the action because major automakers are failing to develop long-range electric cars like Tesla's Model S, which has a maximum EPA-range of 265 miles. Instead, those who have made electric cars have generally limited their range per charge to about 100 miles, which hasn't made them popular with consumers.
He says Tesla had once feared that major automakers could copy its technology and use it to clobber the electric-car start-up with their powerful marketing budgets. But it never happened. Instead, he says the electric car industry needs to be fostered, introducing consumers to more sustainable cars in the face of the world environmental threat.