In short: Faraday Future has now appointed Tesla's former head of intellectual property and litigation, Jeff Risher, as VP Of Product, Technology, and IP Strategy. The news comes as the company works to overcome several tumultuous months over the past several months, including the resignation of Design VP Richard Kim and several other prominent executives last year over financial troubles. Risher will be responsible for overall product strategy as well as adopting technologies and forming strategic relationships and will report directly to CEO Jia Yueting. Secondary to that, he will also be reporting to Global General Counsel Henry Liu as the lead on Faraday Future's IP strategy and patent portfolio. As such, Risher will also be responsible for patent and IP strategy and licensing, in addition to offering expertise in litigation of those matters.
Background: Financial issues have effectively plagued Faraday Future since shortly after its founding in 2014. More recently, Faraday Future's CEO Jia Yueting has also faced relatively severe restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. The executive and his sister, Jia Yuefang, were banned from flying or traveling by train by the authorities back in June over tax debts owed. Prior to that, the company faced over 1.8 million after it failed to pay for a VR promotional tour created for its FF 91 and was later forced to cancel plans for a new factory in Vallejo, California. The factory would likely have been utilized to build out its then unfinished concept SUV, following finalization of ongoing development. The full-electric vehicle was expected to be an indirect competitor to Tesla's Model X at between $150,000 and $200,000 and with a battery range of nearly 100 miles more thanks to a 92-kWh battery array.
Impact: With Risher on staff, it appears as though the company is still aiming to complete that project and eventually go into production. The executive has extensive experience in strategizing IP and products thanks to his work with Tesla, Apple, and Abbott Laboratories. What's more, his experience navigating the litigation side of matters with the law firms Latham & Watkins and Rutan & Tucker could benefit the company immensely. Having said that, Faraday Future has not managed to release a finished product in its nearly 5 years of operation and will still likely require a substantial amount of time before it's ready to enter production.