A judge has spoken. Nikola fails to respond.
Nikola is a shell of what it once was. Following the publication of a damning report from short-selling firm Hindenburg Research not long after the EV start-up went public in 2020, the company's founder and CEO, Trevor Milton, resigned. He's since been indicted for fraud. One of the many allegations he's accused of is being behind a video showing Nikola's semi-truck driving down a road. In reality, it was rolling down a hill. Aside from the semi, there was the Nikola Badger pickup truck, a potential serious rival to the Tesla Cybertruck. The Badger is no more and all pre-order deposits were refunded.
But back in the 2018 pre-scandal world, things were looking good for Nikola. So good, in fact, it felt embolden enough to sue Tesla for $2 billion for alleged design patent infringements. Tesla's upcoming semi, the suit said, is "substantially" similar to Nikola's design. A federal judge disagrees.
Per The Verge, Judge James Donato of the Northern District Court of California has closed the lawsuit against Tesla. Nikola has until October 6 to convince the judge the case should continue. If not, it'll likely be dropped. Interestingly, neither automaker has shown much interest in the lawsuit for quite some time.
"On July 7, 2021, the Court asked the parties to schedule new tutorial and claim construction hearing dates. Neither side responded," Donato wrote. "On September 2, 2021, the Court vacated further proceedings on claim construction for the lack of a response. As of the date of this order, neither party has advised the Court of proposed new hearing dates."
Neither spokespeople nor lawyers for both companies chose to comment. Tesla, more than likely, simply wants to move on and never considered the lawsuit to be a serious threat in the first place. As for Nikola, it has a long list of new problems since 2018's filing. Fighting Tesla over alleged design theft is probably no longer a priority. Survival is. Tesla didn't completely ignore the lawsuit, however.
Last year, for example, it tried to claim Nikola stole its semi design from Rimac. Given Nikola's current situation, there's a decent chance it won't respond to the court's decision. We'll know for certain in just a few days' time.