John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Your Karma Ran Over My Tesla

Tesla Motors has lost its Sturm und Drang race with Fisker Coachbuild. On Monday, an arbitrator ruled that Fisker did nothing untoward by introducing an electric-powered luxury sports car after doing some design work for Tesla.

As you may recall, Tesla sued Fisker Coachbuild back in April, charging that founder Henrik Fisker stole valuable company design ideas and trade secrets after it hired him to design the company’s oft-delayed plug-in electric-powered WhiteStar hybrid sedan.

Tesla claimed Fisker sabotaged the WhiteStar project by purposely drafting a subpar design that set it back three to six months, then stole proprietary Tesla technology and used it to build a competing car–the Fisker Karma. Unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show this past January, the $80,000 Karma had been scheduled to arrive at market in late 2009. Because of the production delays allegedly caused by Fisker’s designs, the WhiteStar won’t arrive until 2010.

“I think it’s ironic that Fisker chose to name his car the Karma, when what he’s done is very bad karma,” Tesla attorney Adam C. Belsky said back in April.

The arbitrator, it seems, didn’t quite agree. “The evidence is overwhelming that Fisker did nothing wrong,” he found. “The assertion of violations of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act by Fisker were baseless and neither brought nor pursued in good faith.”

A tough break for Tesla, which has been hit hard by the financial crisis, so hard that it was forced to borrow $40 million to cover its costs earlier this week.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik