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Nikola, a hydrogen-electric truck startup, is suing Tesla for $2B over patent infringement. The Hustle Thur, May 3 Brought to you by Death Wish Coffee… murder your Monday. Nikola v. Tesla: Musk’s company sued for $2B by hydrogen truck startup...
Tuesday, Nikola Motor Company filed a lawsuit in Arizona alleging Tesla copied their patents when creating its electric semi truck -- and Nikola wants to be compensated.
So what’s their proof?
Founded in 2014, Nikola took off with whatever the all-electric version of a Fast and the Furious NOS boost would be, presenting its first two products in two years: an electric 4-wheel offroadster and a hydrogen-electric semi truck.
The complaint lays out a laundry list of claims that, according to Nikola, capture a timeline proving that Tesla aped their patents -- and it recalls a Tesla recruiter’s attempt to poach Nikola’s chief engineer mere months after the startup released its truck.
Nikola also lists various cosmetic similarities between Tesla’s semi and theirs -- including its distinctive wraparound windshields and aerodynamic fuselage.
Coincidence? They think not
The companies obviously have odd similarities, starting with the fact that together their names round out the nod to the famous inventor Nikola Tesla (Tesla, in fairness, was founded 11 years earlier).
But Nikola believes patent stealing is going too far, claiming that Tesla’s truck is causing “confusion in the market,” harming their ability to attract investors and partners. Because, well, why wouldn’t investors go with Tesla?
Deny, deny, deny
Tesla denies the claims, telling the Verge, “it’s patently obvious there is no merit to this lawsuit.” -- Ok, we see what you did there.
But Nikola believes the lawsuit’s proof speaks for itself. -- Ouch, Tesla clowns you with a patent joke, and that’s all you got?
The chicken or the Tesla
Birchbox invaded by Vikings, leaving investors empty-handed
Recode reports that Birchbox’s investor, Viking Global -- who led Birchbox’s last $60m funding round in 2014 -- will buy out its other existing VC investors with a new, $15m investment in the OG subscription beauty box.
That also means Birchbox’s other investors are walking away with nothing to show for the collective millions they’ve poured into the company to date.
The ‘For Sale’ sign’s been on the lawn for a while now
The 8-year-old company, worth nearly $500m at its peak, has been for sale since last summer, reportedly in acquisitions with retailers like Walmart.
(Most, recently, Birchbox was courting QVC in what Recode’s sources say would’ve been a fire sale).
Unfortunately for Birchbox, none of these talks materialized, and the company is left to dig themselves out of “tens of millions of dollars in debt.”
Another case of the trailblazer getting trailblazed
Since launching in 2010, they’ve faced an influx of look-alike beauty boxes from competitors like BoxyCharm, Ipsy, Julep, and Sephora, to name just a few.
AI Superlatives: Here’s what’s happening in the global race for AI supremacy
When it comes to AI, the United States and China are most likely to succeed (in terms of startup funding, at least). Chinese startups received 48% of the world’s AI startup funding in 2017 (compared to the US’s 38%), though the States hosts a larger number of ventures.
But there are LOTS of other countries in the race, and they’re putting up some big droid money to keep things interesting.
Most likely to improve: Brazil
Analysts believe AI will add significant growth to Brazil’s economy by 2035, bringing in an additional $432B. The largest contribution may be in the “capital augmentation” sector (AKA, banking), where Brazilian banks are particularly bullish on AI in their future operations.
Most unique: France
Parlez-vous AI? The French do, and according to President Macron’s announcement in March, the government will invest $1.8B in AI research until 2022, with a niche focus of making private companies publicly release their data for use in AI on a “case-by-case basis.”
Most likely to start a war: Russia
What, your high school didn’t have that award? Putin once ominously predicted that the leader in AI will “rule the world,” and Russia’s investment focus seems to lean heavily in the “global domination” direction.
According to Quartz, Russia spends an estimated $12.5m a year on AI, and many of their products are “military in nature,” like AI-assisted fighter jets and automated artillery.
Hobby Lobby returns the 3.8k artifacts it ‘accidentally’ stole from Iraq
After coughing up a $3m penalty for smuggling thousands of black market artifacts into the US last year, Hobby Lobby is finally returning its loot.
Steve Green, the owner of the craft-supply store, used Hobby Lobby to “accidentally” smuggle 3.8k relics out of Iraq last year to fill his Museum of the Bible.
It ain’t easy for yarn-sellers to hop into the criminal underworld
The Lobby (whose $4.3B in revenue makes it one of the 100 largest private US companies) claimed it “should have exercised more oversight,” but they were “new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities.”
Here’s a rule of thumb: When you wire money to 5 people at 7 accounts and receive a FedEx package of “clay tiles” containing your multimillion-dollar purchase -- it’s probably time for “more oversight.”
But, whether the Hob-Lobbers were crafty geniuses or just dummies, they had no trouble finding sellers to slice off someone else’s heritage.
Green seems unfazed
“Our passion for the Bible continues,” he said. “We will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book.”
Even without the 3.8k items returned, the museum is filled with 40k other Biblical artifacts worth $800m. It’s open -- even on Sundays.
SINK: A 3-pointer alongside Curry with Steph-IQ, FREE
Imagine HQ -- but with a cooler, more coordinated host. Created specifically for the NBA playoffs, this live trivia game starts when Steph scores his first 3-pointer in a Warriors game. Winner takes home cash prizes and the coveted Curry 5 Sneakers.
STARE: Into VR’s future with an Oculus Go Headset, $199
Finally, a VR headset you don’t have to sell a kidney to afford! This bad boy comes with all the hardware you need for games, videos and apps -- unlike the Go’s older cousin Rift (which will set you back about $400).
SMACK: This bluetooth typewriter keyboard by Qwerkytoys, $299
Lindsey here -- I got this typewriter-inspired keyboard as a gift, and it’s totally won me over. The mechanical keys are clack-a-lackin, and you can program up to 15 characters into the return bar, so you can shoot back phrases like “them’s the facts,” with a single flick.
DIP: Your wrist in bronze with MVMT’s latest release, starting at $110
Bronze is the new black. Pairing the rich natural elements of Nordic design with the polished elegance of an uptown penthouse, MVMT’s new Bronze Age Collection dropped right in time to refine your summer.
SMILE: ‘Cuz you have Sam Hubbs on your feet, starting at $210
Looking boardroom-ready shouldn’t be painful. Samuel Hubbard built upon 88 years of cobbling heritage to create “The Un-Sneaker” -- a dress shoe you can jog in. Using high-quality leathers, proprietary foams, and the wisdom of an old-timey Boston cobbler, they’ll keep you comfy (and classy) all day long.