Audi recently 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 on Thursday that the names of NIO’s electric vehicles are too similar and could be confused with Audi’s S6 and S8 performance sedans.
In this regard, NIO said, “The German District Court in Munich made a first-instance judgment on the case of Audi suing NIO for trademark infringement disputes. We regret this judgment. We will resolutely appeal and use legal means to protect our legitimate rights and interests. At present, NIO’s business in Europe is being carried out in an orderly manner, EL7 and ET5 will be delivered in the near future, and the construction of charging and swapping facilities is also accelerating.”
A German judge agreed that Nio’s model name is actually different from Audi’s, but even so, the additional letter E wasn’t 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.”
Nio can sell the ES7 car in Germany, which it renamed the EL7 last October.