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Nikola patented a stolen truck design, Tesla claims in legal response

Two years ago, hydrogen-truck startup Nikola sued Tesla claiming that the Tesla Semi was a knockoff of Nikola’s own truck design. On Wednesday, Tesla filed a response in the case accusing Nikola of basing its own truck on a 2010 concept by designer Adriano Mudri. Mudri is now director of design at the Croatian automaker Rimac.

“Adriano Mudri is the designer of the Road Runner concept truck,” Tesla writes in its legal filing. “The Road Runner concept truck was entered into the 2010 Michelin Design Challenge, and was selected for display at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.”

According to Tesla, Nikola founder Trevor Milton met with Mudri “during 2014 and/or 2015.” Tesla says that Milton knew about the Road Runner concept truck at the time he applied for the design patents Nikola later used to sue Tesla and that Mudri’s design “constituted a significant inventive contribution” to the designs Nikola patented.

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