“The more people that use the technology, the more valuable the market” — Zorina Khan

Tesla Model S battery
Tesla Model S battery

From Bloomberg News via the The Denver Post (Susan Decker, Alan Ohnsman and Mark Clothier):

Elon Musk wants to apply the contrarian style that made him millions of dollars from PayPal and billions from rocket ships and electric cars, and revolutionize the litigious world of patents.

Tesla Motors Inc. became a rarity among automakers when Musk on Thursday pledged that inventions on his electric cars and batteries will be free for anyone to use “in good faith.”

The move may speed the adoption of technology that Musk needs to make his fledging line of cars more than a luxury niche.

Patents are a trade-off that give companies the right to block others from using a specific technology in exchange for making the idea public so others can analyze and build on it.

The alternatives are to keep the technology a trade secret or, as in the case of the Linux computing system, make the information available to everyone. Tesla is adopting a third way — continue to patent, but let the public use it at will.

“The more people that use the technology, the more valuable the market,” said Zorina Khan, an economics professor at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and author of “The Democratization of Invention.”

Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court struck a blow against the foul patent trolls:

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