By on February 19, 2013

 

The Chinese-Israeli co-production Qoros has not sold a single car yet, but it already finds itself in the legal hot seat. Via a temporary injunction of a court in Hamburg, Germany, Audi precluded Qoros from using – the letter Q.

Qoros 3 Sedan

„The letter Q is a protected part of our brand portfolio,“ Audi is quoted in Der Kfz-Betrieb. „If another car maker uses the letter Q for a name plate, then this affects us, of course.”

This, also of course, should trigger alarm bells at Nissan’s Infiniti. The luxury marque decided to Q-up all its cars behind the letter Q. However, Infiniti told Kfz-Betrieb that there are no complaints pending – yet . Or maybe, Audi does not want to get legally entangled with Nissan, but hopes that a Chinese manufacturer is automatically guilty of infringement. However, our legal researcher Chocolatedeath has found evidence of a prior settlement that shows Infiniti as the infringed party.

Audi Q7

German media report that the legal bluster is not about branded letters, but meant to “keep Qoros down,” as Die Welt writes.  “Is Audi scared of Chinese Qoros?” asks Focus.

Qoros  dropped the Q and calls its new car the  “Qoros 3 Sedan.”  Which could ring alarm bells at BMW …. But then, if I’d be Audi, I would be careful. The best-known Qs in China are the two Qs of the Chery QQ. Chery owns half of Qoros. Audi has a lot to lose in China …

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24 Comments on “QWERTY: Audi Claims Letter Q, Sues Qoros...”


  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    If anything, Mazda should be the next in line to jump on the legal train.

    Qoros 3… meet the Mazda 3.

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    Wasn’t Infiniti the first to use the Q suffix, way back in 1990 for the Q45? Maybe that’s why they aren’t suing them. I don’t see how having some models in your line starting with Q gives you the right to say no car maker can use a name with a Q in it.

  • avatar
    Freddy M

    By their logic, Audi has a much stronger case against Infiniti IMO. Is this a case of going after a smaller fish?

    Personally I would not in any way confuse a Qoros with ANY Audi SUV as the Qoros is, well, a NAME, not a collection of letters and numbers.

  • avatar
    serothis

    Is it possible they’re going after legal precedent? Go after a little guy in a case they know they can win. Then cite that case against a bigger tougher opponent?

  • avatar
    George Herbert

    How many cars does…. Err, did Audi sell in China, again?…

  • avatar
    JMII

    Does Nissan own “Z”? Maybe its because I own one but rarely can you identify a car by a single letter. When I tell people I have a “Z” they immediately know what I’m talking about. About the only other one letter car I can think of is “M” for BMW’s performance editions. Saying you own a “Q” makes me think of the character in Star Trek: Next Generation.

    • 0 avatar
      serothis

      That’s an interesting point. What about Mazda’s use of RX for their rotary car? They’ve been using it since the 60′s. Do they have a case against Lexus who also uses RX?

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Cant really remember when but I think awhile back Infiniti and Audi got together and decided that they could not sue each other over the letter Q for any vehicle designation. Like I said cant remember when but they did.

  • avatar

    A lot of trademark law has to do with “likelihood of confusion”. Does Audi really want to argue that someone is going to confuse a Chinese Qoros with one of their German products just because of one letter on the trunk lid?

    Frankly, I think Qoros, with a somewhat new business model for making cars (European engineering, Chinese assembly, with Israeli financing, producing slightly upscale cars that will be cheaper than the Germans) has a lot of folks in the auto biz in Europe concerned, Korea too I bet.

    If I was running an American car dealer group, I’d be talking to Qoros about franchises here.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Ok..found it.

    Nissan and Audi have settled a recent controversy over the Q7 name out of court, according to auto motor und sport. The so-called ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ means Audi can continue to use the Q7 name for its large luxury SUV, and also clears the way for the German carmaker to use the Q-series nomenclature for future SUVs, including the proposed Q5 and Q3 crossovers. In September, Nissan sued Audi over its use of the the letter “Q,” which it was already using for the Infiniti QX utillity vehicle and Q45 saloon. There are reports of a financial settlement, but details have not been disclosed. The German and Japanese carmakers reportedly agreed to keep the settlement under wraps.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      So if Audi won against Qoros, could Nissan then come up and tap Audi? They were first, after all. I still think Infiniti, not Audi with Q designations. Audi’s suvs are both scarce and visually forgettable, however good they may be.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      I thought this settlement was well-known among auto enthusiasts, but I guess not. However, I thought the settlement was only for the Q7 and the Q5, and didn’t necessarily include the Q3 (yet).

      The way you keep a trademark is to defend it. It is in Audi’s interest to make sure that there is no likelihood of confusion, regardless of whether people here think that no one would mistake a Qoros for an Audi. The conspiracy theories are silly and probably stated by people who don’t understand trademark law.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    When I think Audi I think A or S. The fact that they still make the Q line actually comes as a shock to me.
    To me, Audi doesn’t stand for rebadged Touaregs, no matter how fiercely they defend their letter.*

    *Which instantly makes me think of Infiniti.

  • avatar
    vaujot

    Two things: Firstly, according to the original article, the injunction prohibits the marketing of a car as “GQ3″. Audi sells a small SUV/Crossover as Q3 (not sure if that model is sold stateside). So the claim that this might be confused is not totally without merits.
    Secondly, this is a preliminary ruling, not a final one. If Qoros is serious about its intention to enter the market, they should obtain qualified advice if they have a chance to overturn this and if so, fight for their rights diligently.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    When you stop to think about it there are only a handful of cool letters. In order of coolness: X, Z, Q, and then possibly A and S…

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Breaking news: I just bought Oldsmobile from GM for 100 bucks including all past trademark names. Each car will be slightly larger inside then their competition. My new car line will be ultra lux-premium and consist of the follow names.

    o9= full size sedan
    o7= mid size sedan
    o5 compact sedan
    o3=mini car

    o8 full size CUV
    06 mid size CUV
    o4 compact CUV
    o2 compact coupe

    I also will advertise on cheerios and oreo packages
    Anyone interested in designing them for me.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Uh-Oh. The Weather Channel is now calling the latest winter storm “Q” (they couldn’t spell Quetzalcoatl). I wonder if they’ll get sued too.


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