Tesla Motors has been having a showdown with Ford Motor Company over patenting the name “Model E” presumably for the next Tesla electric car model. Even though Ford filed its application to trademark the Model E name months later, Tesla has withdrawn its application. Instead of the situation resulting in a messy legal fight, the two automakers resolved the competition over the name amicably.
Both automakers have stayed mum as to what happened between them, leaving many people to speculate that Ford either made a threat or deal that Tesla could not ignore. Tesla had actually applied for three classes of trademark for the Model E name, including one for apparel like socks and baby bibs that would have the name splashed across it.
As for Ford, it has played with the possibility of using the Model E name for quite some time. Back in 2000 the automaker filed an application to register the name as a trademark, but later abandoned the pursuit in 2003. Another of the company’s applications was canceled in 2010, leading some people to accuse Ford of behaving like a fickle thirteen year-old. Many speculate that Ford plans to use the name for a future all-electric vehicle, but it’s likely Ford does not even know if it even wants the name this time.
The real tragedy is that now Tesla has to go back to square one for the name of its next electric vehicle. The Roadster is gone, so right now Tesla has the Model S and the upcoming Model X. Having a Model E in the mix would have led to an interesting acronym many grade schoolers would snicker about during recess. For now, even the production of the next Tesla model is waiting on the completion of the automaker’s new lithium-ion battery factory, so it might be a while before we know if the company will do the smart thing and go with Model O.