VW fails in Suzuki GTi court bid

Volkswagen has failed in its court bid to prevent rival car manufacturer Suzuki from using the well-known GTI tag on one of its vehicles.

The EU's trademark office (OHIM) had already rejected Volkswagen's claim that Suzuki's Swift GTi name should be changed on the grounds that it would be confused with its long-standing Golf GTI, which was first launched in the 1970s. But Volkswagen appealed the ruling and the case was heard in the European Court of Justice.

Judges in the European court upheld the ruling made by OHIM, however, declaring that consumers would not be confused by the name, particularly as other manufacturers such as Rover, Peugeot, Citroen, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Toyota has already used the term on some of their own models.

The judges said: "There is no likelihood of confusion between that trademark and the earlier trademarks 'GTI' held by Volkswagen."

It was also stated by the judges that the most distinctive part of the name Suzuki wanted to use was Swift, as opposed to GTi.

Copyright Press Association 2012