The secretive electric vehicle company Faraday Future unveiled its first vehicle concept today at CES in Las Vegas. The vehicle is an all-electric supercar named FFZERO1. Faraday Future was founded in 2014, and it has been in stealth mode ever since inception. The Chinese-backed company has not provided much detail around how it plans to take on Tesla and others in the electric vehicle space. However, Faraday’s staff includes a number of ex-Tesla employees, including its former head of vehicle and chassis engineering Nick Sampson.
In light of today’s FFZERO1 concept unveiling, Envision IP reviewed US and global patent databases to determine the scope of Faraday’s patent protection. As of today, the company is not an assignee on any issued patents or published applications anywhere in the world. However, US patent applications typically publish 18 months from their earliest effective filing date, so we may start seeing Faraday’s patent applications begin to publish in the coming months (if any have been filed in recent years).
We would not be surprised however if the company has chosen not to publish its US patent applications. Applicants can file a request for nonpublication, an option Faraday may have strategically used to keep its pending applications unpublished until they actually become granted patents. The average total pendency at the USPTO is currently ~26 months, which is the average time for all applications to either issue or have a final disposition. If Faraday has chosen to not publish its US applications, the company would presumably have an additional 8 months of “stealth” mode (in addition to the first 18 months after filing) based on the current pendency statistics.
While unlikely, the company may have foregone filing patent applications on technology that is difficult (or impossible) for competitors to reverse engineer, such as reaction-level chemistry in its fuel cells and batteries, etc. Opting instead to keep these proprietary technologies as trade secrets.
In addition, Faraday may also benefit from and leverage Tesla’s patented technology, which Tesla opened up to the public in June 2014.
It certainly will be exciting to see further announcements from Faraday, and Envision IP will be tracking any patent-related news from the company in the coming months and year.