Marussia and Manor in trademark dispute over 2015 Formula 1 car

An application for summary judgement brought by Marussia against Manor Grand Prix Racing for trademark infringement by using its name during the 2015 Formula 1 season has been rejected

Marussia and Manor in trademark dispute over 2015 Formula 1 car

In legal documents seen by Autosport, the claim stated Marussia licensed the trademark to Manor to use as its Formula 1 team and chassis name, but that the licence came to an end on 31 December 2014.

It added Manor continued to use "Marussia" as the name of its Formula 1 team and chassis for 2015 after the outfit was saved from administration.

If Manor changed its chassis name from Marussia without consent from F1's commercial rights holder, it would lose entitlement to prize money based on previous seasons.

Manor has defended the claim on five grounds, firstly suggesting Marussia "impliedly consented" to the use of the trademark.

It added Marussia estopped, in other words "is barred", from asserting its rights as owner of the trademark.

Thirdly, it said the use of the trademark did not give rise to any "likelihood of confusion" on the part of the relevant public for the purpose of Article 9.1 (b) of the Community Trade Mark Regulation.

Manor added the trademark does not have "a reputation in the community" for the purpose of Article 9.1 (c) of the aforementioned regulation.

In the fifth and final defence, it said its use of the trademark constituted use of its own name "in accordance with honest practices" for the purpose of Article 12 of the regulation.

In conclusion, Mr Justice Males said Manor has "no real prospect" of proving that its use of the claimant's trademark was with the claimant's consent.

He concluded the estoppel defence is not available to Manor, and that it is "improbable" the trademark defences under Article 9 and Article 12 would succeed.

Males added there is power to make a conditional order requiring the defendant to provide security if it wishes to pursue those defences.

If Manor follows the path, security of £1.75million must be provided.

Manor must now decide whether it wants to pursue defences three, four and five.

The team has described Marussia's claims as "speculative" in a statement.

"Marussia put the company [the F1 team] into administration in 2014," a spokesperson told Autosport.

"We made an offer to acquire the team, including the chassis, which they readily accepted, perhaps assuming we would not be able to get the team up and running again.

"Now that we have, they have launched these speculative claims."

The document also stated the claimant has brought a claim of 'passing off' but that is not the subject of this application.

It also stated the defendant has a pending application to plead a counterclaim for declining to pay some £520,000 for sponsorship rights.

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