SpaceX CEO Elon Musk criticizes patents and says they ‘are for the weak’

“They’re used like landmines in warfare,” he says. “They don’t actually help advance things; they just stop others from following you.”

Elon Musk is indeed against patenting innovations. Back in 2012, he had an interview with Wired and said: “We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China—if we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.”

He’s willing to share the technologies his companies developed.

“Tesla irrevocably pledges that it will not initiate a lawsuit against any party for infringing a Tesla Patent through activity relating to electric vehicles or related equipment for so long as such party is acting in good faith,” a statement on Tesla’s legal page reads.

Patents are actually a part of Musk’s companies

However, that doesn’t mean that the world’s richest person has never filed patents. According to Insight By Greyb, Musk’s portfolio has 18 patents that belong to 9 unique patent families, including vehicle design, autonomous vehicles, location-based search, and such. From 1996 until 1999, he filed at least one patent each year, then one in 2001, four in 2004, one in 2009, and four in 2020.

He also filed patents outside the United States, where he applied for 10 of them. The list includes two in Australia, two in Canada, one in Europe, and one in South Korea.

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