Not that he needs or even wants the money, but a few days before Christmas, Elon Musk is going to get a great deal richer. Tesla’s entrance into the Standard & Poor’s 500 should, according to some estimates, pad Musk’s net worth by between $20 billion and $30 billion, which would put him within striking distance of the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos. However, we suspect that Musk is somewhat more excited about his 20% share of the $400,000 Tesla’s getting from a former employee. This is not just because, as Musk himself notes, Tesla’s share price is about as solid as a finicky French pastry, but because it represents his latest vindication over a naysayer, and a particularly vindictive one, at that.

A former Tesla Inc. employee who locked horns with Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has agreed to pay the company $400,000 for telling reporters about production delays at its Gigafactory in Nevada, according to a court filing…. [Martin] Tripp admitted to violating trade secret laws and confidentiality agreements. He also owes Tesla an additional $25,000 for previously revealing information about the company, despite being ordered to stop by a judge.

All in all, a pretty good week for Musk, whose greatest rival in the field of electric vehicles is having rather a bad one. Another bad one, really, in a growing string of bad ones.

Nikola Corp’s stock extended its recent drop on Tuesday as investors were allowed to sell shares of the electric truck maker on the expiration of the startup’s share lock-up period…. As of Monday, Nikola’s short-sellers were profitable in 2020, with a net-of-financing mark-to-market profit of $309 million for the year….

Of course, no one—not even Elon Musk—can have a perfect year, and the serial entrepreneur’s got one thing other than coronavirus lockdowns and sniffles to drown his sorrows over.

In May 2018, a legal representative attempted to register the brand Teslaquila in Mexico, the only country where tequila is made. In February 2019, the CRT filed its objection to the brand; in March 2019, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property said “Teslaquila” can’t be registered because it was too close to the designation of origin tequila. In a July 16th response, Musk’s team challenged this, saying “Teslaquila” was a natural variant from Tesla and the suffix “-quila.” On January 16th, the final ruling came down: the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property declared it could not register the brand.

Ex-Tesla Factory Worker to Pay $400,000 Over Feud With Musk [Bloomberg]
Tesla to Enter S&P 500 at Full Weight in December [WSJ]
Musk to Tesla employees: ‘Our stock will immediately get crush like a souffle under a sledgehammer!’ if we don’t control costs [CNBC]
Nikola shares drop as share lockup period expires [Reuters]
Elon Musk wanted to call his new tequila ‘Teslaquila’ but Mexico said no [The Verge]

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