Volkswagen received a legal black eye from its estranged Japanese partner Suzuki. Volkswagen had taken a silly trademark fight all the way to the General Court of the European Union, and lost today, Reuters says. This is unrelated to the divorce proceedings between Volkswagen and Suzuki, but it definitely comes at an inopportune time.
In 2004, Volkswagen contested a trademark application by Suzuki for “SWIFT GTi.” The mark had been granted by the EU’s Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).
Europe’s second highest court ruled today that there is no likelihood of the SWIFT GTi being confused with Volkswagen’s Golf GTI. According to the ruling,
“OHIM correctly held that the average consumer in Sweden, Benelux, Germany, France, Italy and Austria would not assume that all vehicles, parts and accessories come from the same manufacturer simply on the basis of the combination of the three letters ‘gti’, and accordingly any likelihood of confusion was excluded.”
A spokesman for VW said that his company might appeal. Or not