Gardena electric car company Faraday Future – already struggling with fleeing executives, allegations of unpaid bills, and potential production delays – is being challenged over whether it can even use its name.
San Francisco’s Faraday Bicycles, which makes electric cycles, filed a trademark lawsuit against the carmaker last week in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging it obtained the trademark for “Faraday” in October 2013 and that the car company has been infringing on its name.
The bicycle manufacturer said on its website that the name was derived from Michael Faraday, a British physicist born in 1791 whose research in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry led the way for today’s electric vehicles.
Faraday Future did not respond to emails seeking comment.
According to the lawsuit, Faraday Future’s trademark application was already rejected in 2016 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which reasoned the carmaker’s name was likely to be confused with the bicycle brand. Faraday Bicycles is seeking an injunction plus unspecified damages.
Business and legal woes seem to be piling up at Faraday Future. The Chinese-backed company, which launched in 2014 and was touted as the “Tesla killer,” has seen top executives leave in recent months, scrapped negotiations to build its second production facility in Vallejo, and so far failed to break ground on a planned Nevada manufacturing plant.
The company said a year ago it intended to build a 900-acre, $1 billion factory a few miles from the Las Vegas Strip in which it would manufacture its electric vehicles, and promised to begin production by this year.
The carmaker’s former partner, Aecom, stopped work on the facility in November, saying it had yet to be paid $58 million in fees related to the Nevada factory, according to news reports. The delay has cast doubt on the company’s plan to release its first production vehicle, the FF 91, in 2018.
Landlord Beim Maple Properties also filed suit against Faraday Future in December, alleging the car company missed more than $100,000 worth of rent payments for its Torrance warehouse.
The company is backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, owner of a holding company called LeEco Holdings, a video-sharing service often dubbed the “Netflix of China.” This is his first venture into the automotive sector.
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