Coachbuilding has been around for over 100 years, and over that time, many a car has been transformed with a truly luxurious, custom treatment. But where does customization end and copyright infringement begin? That’s the question ex-Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker will be grappling with in the coming weeks.
According to Jalopnik, Aston Martin is suing Fisker over the design of his eye-catching Thunderbolt Concept, which was recently revealed at Amelia Island Concours earlier this month.
In the legal filings, the company is claiming that Fisker’s Thunderbolt infringes on Aston Martin’s intellectual property (specifically trademarks rights) and that Fisker willingly knew he didn’t have the company’s approval before taking on the project.
In the suit, the company tells that Fisker approached the firm in November 2014 regarding cooperation on “Project Thunderbolt”, Fisker’s reimagined take on the Aston Martin Vanquish. At that point, Aston Martin noted that it did not approve the project, which would utilize an Aston Martin platform. Nevertheless, the design emerged months later as the “Thunderbolt.”
The press materials regarding the Thunderbolt release noted that if there was significant public interest, a limited production run of that car could commence. However, Aston Martin is claiming that not only is that not warranted but also claims that Fisker’s concept is not actually based on a current Vanquish, but rather a different model altogether.
The issue that Fisker’s Thunderbolt is associated with Los Angeles’ Galpin Aston Martin also muddles the waters in that Aston believes it breaches Galpin’s dealer contract “to sell and promote only genuine Aston Martin vehicles.”
What do you think, is there more “custom” here than Aston Martin, or vice versa?