26 July 2016Trademarks

BMW targets US-based car garage in trademark suit

Car maker BMW has sued a US-based garage for alleged trademark infringement, citing unofficial use of two of its logos.

In a lawsuit filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California, BMW’s US division said that California-based German Auto Service, which repairs and services vehicles, has been using its ‘roundel’ and ‘mini wings’ logos without permission.

The complaint, filed on Friday, July 22, alleged that the garage’s owner Christopher Boehler has been displaying BMW’s logos on his trucks, at his business premises in Alameda, and on his website.

The multinational further alleged that two cease-and-desist letters have been sent to Boehler but that he has continued to use the marks.

According to BMW: “Defendant’s acts … have been deliberate, willful, intentional, and in bad faith, with full knowledge and in conscious disregard of BMW’s rights in its marks and with intent to trade off BMW’s vast goodwill in its marks.”

The BMW US division added that it has been the “exclusive licensee and authorised user” of the roundel logo in the US since at least 1949 and the Mini Wings logo since at least as early as 2002 from its German parent company.

“Unless these acts of defendant are restrained by this court, defendant will continue to cause irreparable injury to BMW and to the public for which there is no adequate remedy at law,” the company added.

BMW is seeking a trial by jury, triple damages and attorneys’ fees, as well as an injunction preventing Boehler and his company from using BMW-owned marks.

Earlier this year, WIPR reported that a church warden and his wife were sent to prison after admitting to selling fake BMW merchandise worth millions of pounds.

Stephen Anderson, 49, and his wife Elizabeth, from Northern Ireland, made more than £1 million ($1.3 million) after selling the fake parts on eBay.

An investigation into the couple, carried out by BMW and the UK Intellectual Property Office, found that goods including tyre valve caps, car stickers and cuff links were imported regularly from South East Asia before being sold online.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at atapping@newtonmedia.co.uk

More on this story

4 July 2016   Luxury fashion brand Versace has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit targeting five companies that it says have been using its name.
6 July 2016   Sportswear multinational Nike has opposed a trademark application by World Wrestling Entertainment for the term ‘Just Bring It’.
5 July 2016   US beer producer Uinta Brewing Company has been denied a trademark for the term ‘Duo’ covering beer because of an existing mark for the name covering wine.