Early in November Nissan announced seemingly out of the blue that its “BladeGlider” EV concept would be produced inside of three years, but the automaker is being sued over alleged intellectual property rights to its design.
The suit was filed Nov. 22 in a Georgia Superior court by Delta Wing Project 56 which is backed by millionaire entrepreneur Don Panoz, 78, who has seen much success in pharmaceutical and automotive ventures.
It asks for a cease-and-desist order that would stop Nissan from displaying, racing or selling cars with the BladeGlider’s design which borrows heavily from the Delta Wing, a project Panoz’ company originated.
Nissan helped finance his petrol-powered design which it has been experimentally fielding with not a little success, including a fourth-place finish with 300 horsepower that was won by a 450 horsepower competitor at Petit Le Mans on the outskirts of Atlanta.
Panoz says he hopes to yet profit further by licensing the aerodynamic, weight-saving design to automakers, and is concerned that if Nissan is left unchecked, it may lapse into the public domain.
His suit names Darren Cox, director of Nissan’s global motorsports program, and Ben Bowlby, one of the team leaders for the BladeGlider project who’d been hired away by Nissan from Panoz.
The suit reportedly follows months of behind-the-scenes discussion and confrontation with Nissan.
Nissan offered no comment, when it was requested by Automotive News.