Tesla has sued Australian battery technology company Cap-XX in Texas federal court, claiming its supercapacitors infringe two US patents owned by Maxwell Technologies, a subsidiary of the American EV brand, Reuters reports.
The supercapacitors developed by Cap-XX are used for storing energy in the high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles, just like the ones made by Maxwell Technologies, and the lawsuit specifically refers to the electrodes used in the supercapacitors, which Tesla says are the “primary source of the device’s power capabilities.”
The EV marque says in the lawsuit that Cap-XX’s electrodes work in the same way as Maxwell’s patented technology and asked the court for an unspecified amount of money in damages.
Back in 2014, the Austin-based company’s CEO Elon Musk published a blog post on the firm’s website in which he pledged that “Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”
So at first glance, it looks like the promise has been broken, but at closer inspection, it seems it’s nothing more than a small patent war.
Tesla bought Maxwell Technologies in 2019 and in that same year, Cap-XX filed a lawsuit against the subsidiary for patent infringement, so now the maker of the Model Y is doing the same thing, and it’s pretty clear about its intentions.
"Maxwell has a history of innovation that has resulted in its own patents, now assigned to Tesla, and thus Tesla brings this suit against Cap-XX to protect its intellectual property rights," the lawsuit said, cited by Reuters.
On its website, Cap-XX claims it makes the world’s thinnest high-power supercapacitors, as well as being “the leading manufacturer of ultra-thin prismatic, cylindrical, and lithium-ion supercapacitors.”
The Australian company revealed in 2022 that its DMT 220 supercapacitor will be supplied to automotive parts maker Continental for one of its key auto programs from 2024 through 2030.