What Elon Musk did — and did not — do when he “opened” Tesla’s patents

Gigaom

It’s hard to say what was odder: the headline that sounded like it was written by a little kid, or much of the reaction to it. In case you missed it, the episode in question is this week’s blog post by Tesla(s tsla) CEO’s Elon Musk titled “All Our Patent Are Belong To You,” which has had the tech and automotive world buzzing about what he is up to.

The hype also showed that many people just don’t know all that much about patents. To set the record straight, here is what Musk’s message means from a legal and business perspective.

No, Elon Musk did not “open up” Tesla’s patents

Major news outlets from the LA Times to BusinessWeek declared that Musk had decided to “open up” or “give away” Tesla’s patent. While Musk’s blog post was short on specifics, it’s safe to say he did not neither of those things.

For starters, patents are “open” by their nature; that’s how they work. When an inventor submits…

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