SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – In an unusual trademark complaint, Isringhausen Imports, a Mercedes, BMW and Porsche dealer, claims Nissan designed its Infiniti automobiles to look like Isringhausen’s swoopy logo. “Defendants’ designs are so close to Isringhausen’s famous, original design that defendants could only have prepared its designs by copying Isringhausen’s original,” according to the federal complaint.
“Likewise, defendants could only have used their designs as trademarks with full knowledge of Isringhausen’s senior use of its famous design,” the Springfield-based car dealer says. “Defendants’ use of Isringhausen’s design is without its consent or authorization. Defendants thus willfully infringe Isringhausen’s exclusive reproduction, derivative and distribution rights in Isringhausen’s design.”
Isringhausen’s design consists of two swoopy lines, a big one below and a smaller one above. Isringhausen says it hired artists to make the design in 1984 and trademarked it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and in Illinois, in the 1990s.
The 18-page complaint, replete with photos of cars, the Isringhausen logo and stylized car designs, claims that “Defendants have used in commerce a series of designs to offer its automobiles and goods and services that are highly similar, if not nearly identical to Isringhausen’s famous design.”
That statement is followed by outline drawings that purport to show that the contours of the Infiniti look like the swoopy contours of the Isringhausen logo.
Isringhausen claims that Nissan’s Infinitis directly compete with it, and “are so similar to Isringhausen’s famous design that they are likely to confuse the public as to source, quality and sponsorship, as well as to dilute the distinctiveness of Isringhausen’s famous design.”
Isringhausen wants Nissan to stop using its logo as a car design, an accounting, and damages for violations of the Lanham Act and fraud. Isringhausen is represented by Almon Manson with Brown, Hay & Stephens.