"My clients have been completely vindicated of any wrongdoing," said Thomas Newmeyer, one of Fisker's lawyers in the case, in a Nov. 3 statement. The case was referred to arbitration in June, at Fisker's request.
CEO Henrik Fisker is a former designer for BMW. He unveiled the Karma plug-in hybrid car at the Detroit auto show in January 2008. Tesla sued Fisker and Fisker Automotive in April, claiming that Fisker got ideas for the Karma while working for Tesla on a future design.
Tesla offers the battery powered Tesla Roadster. The future model in question is a sedan. A Tesla spokeswoman said on Nov. 4 that the company "respectfully disagrees" with the arbitrator's decision but had no other comment.
Henrik Fisker said that the Karma, to be built in Finland by coachbuilder Valmet Automotive, is still on schedule for retail deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Lotus builds the Tesla Roadster in the United Kingdom. Tesla says it will build its upcoming sedan model in California.