Blow-out for Ferrari in trade mark battle

Following proceedings brought by a German toy manufacturer, a regional court in Dusseldorf has recently ruled that one of Ferrari’s best known brands, Testarossa, is to be cancelled as a trade mark in Germany.

Testarossa is the name of one of the most famous Ferrari cars which was manufactured between 1984 and 1996. During this period, buying a Testarossa was almost impossible due to high demand and long waiting lists. The car reached the peak of its fame when it was featured in the mid-late eighties US hit TV show “Miami Vice”.

In the last 10 years, it appears that the Testarossa trade mark was only used for maintenance services and for spare parts, which was not considered by the court to be sufficient to allow Ferrari to retain its trade mark.  The decision might still be appealed by Ferrari, and so far the grounds have not been published.

For a trade mark expert, this decision is not very surprising, especially because the Testarossa trade mark did not mention spare parts or maintenance services in the list of goods and services.  Neither was it registered for any potential merchandising articles such as T-shirts or caps.

For trade mark holders, though, this decision may act as a wake-up call, as it shows how important the use of a trade mark is, as well as the importance of retaining documentation evidencing such use. It also demonstrates the importance to a business of being assisted by trade mark advisors with the experience and entrepreneurial vision to be able to plan ahead for the lifetime of a trade mark when drafting the list of goods and services for which it may be required.