Knowledge

Trade Marks

Testarossa, and how Ferrari lost its most famous car through non-use

Max Steinhausen

There’s nothing more iconic than a red 1984 Testarossa Ferrari roaring on a winding Italian county road. However, a German court recently ruled that Ferrari no longer has any right to use the Testarossa brand due to non-use of the trade mark.

Testarossa, meaning “red head” in Italian, began production in 1984. The model was named after the car used by Ferrari to win the World Sportscar Championship in 1957.

Autec AG, a toy company, challenged Ferrari to prove it had still been using the Testarossa brand since the model ceased production in 1996. After a lengthy trial, it was determined that, aside from providing spare parts and repairs for old Testarossa models, there had been no cars, no merchandise or any products sold by Ferrari using the Testarossa name for over a decade and therefore non-use of the mark was determined.

Despite the historical significance of the car and its strong links to Ferrari, a spokesperson of the court stated:

A brand needs to be used to protect it, which the company has not done here.”

Autec AG now has exclusive rights to use the Testarossa brand. They plan to use it for the sale of electric shavers and bicycles. They also have the right to licence use of the Testarossa name to other companies and seek compensation for any breaches of their exclusive rights to its use.

This decision is not restricted to Germany, where the legal battle was fought. It affects all member countries of the European Union and will likely affect the brand internationally. While it is unknown whether an Italian court may have had a different approach to a case concerning such an iconic Italian car brand, the only recourse for Ferrari now is to appeal the decision.

The loss of such a significant and long-standing trade mark demonstrates that it does not matter how old or how successful a company or brand is. It is not enough that a brand is well known or was used frequently at one time. With 135,000 new EU trade mark applications each year, the need to actively maintain existing trade marks has never been more important.

What Our Clients Say

Among the most dynamic and responsive IP Offices we ever worked with. People are well educated and know their business, they are perfectly linked around the globe and there is barely an IP topic where they can't provide a well-thought solution.

Imran Mehic
CEO, Sultan Cola

I've been working with Max and the team for a number of years now. They have helped me with multiple trade marks, objections/challenges and advice around the technicalities of the law. I would highly recommend talking to them if you're looking for great customer service, advice and results!

Mathew Stillone
Founder/Managing Director, Integrity Food Co.

Thank you to Max and the whole team! Your work is always of a high standard, professional and timely. I highly recommend Max and the team to any organisation needing IP support!

Anthea Thomas
Director, Hypnobirthing Australia

Excellent service, great result. We initially had issues with our trademark and called them to lodge a declaration to support the mark. Our mark was finally accepted and we believe this was only due to the thorough and detailed documents that were submitted to the trademark office. Great work!

Jason Morrisby
Founder/ Director, Mask Co.
Change Slider Arrow
Change Slider Arrow

Need help?

We work with businesses across Australia and from around the world. If you wish to meet with us in person, please contact our office.

Get In Touch

I'm interested in
Countries of Interest
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.