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Audi wins first instance, NIO bans use of ES6 and ES8 names in Germany

Audi has won a copyright lawsuit against Chinese electric car manufacturer Nio, banning the sale of Nio ES6 and ES8 models in Germany. Germany’s Munich district court ruled that the names of NIO’s electric vehicles are too similar and could be confused with Audi’s S6 and S8 performance sedans.

The decision, disclosed by German media outlet Automobilwoche, said the Nio ES6 and ES8 names violated Audi’s trademark rights because they could be wrongly interpreted as electric models of the German brand’s models.

The judge agreed that Nio’s model name is actually different from Audi’s, but even so, the additional letter E is not enough to distinguish them enough to make them “psychologically related, at least in terms of sound.”

“There is a risk that consumers will perceive the ES6 as an electric version of the S6 and that the two vehicles are from the same manufacturer,” the judge said. “Thus, by association beyond pure association, there is a danger of confounding transference.”

Audi began court proceedings as early as mid-2022 when it argued it wasn’t about styling similarity — the Nio’s model is an SUV, while Audi’s is a sedan — but rather About the similarity of naming. Now, more than a year later, the German brand has won the case in court, but the verdict is not final and Nio can appeal.

As a result, NIO is now banned from promoting the ES6 and ES8 models in Germany, and the Chinese automaker faces a fine of up to 250,000 euros (currently about 1.833 million yuan), or if NIO does not comply with the court ruling, NIO Germany the managing director faces up to six months in prison. However, Nio can sell the ES7 car in Germany, which Nio rebranded as the EL7 last October.

In a statement, Audi said it was “careful to fully protect [its intellectual property rights]” and that “the judgment confirmed that the disputed model name infringed Audi’s trademark rights. Many of Audi’s models have iconic features. This is also, particularly Sporty S models for Audi.”

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James Lopez
James Lopezhttps://www.techgoing.com
James Lopez joined Techgoing as Senior News Editor in 2022. He's been a tech blogger since before the word was invented, and will never log off.

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