Late 2013, car manufacturer Infiniti named the new concept version of their Q50 model “Eau Rouge” (red water). It was named after one of the most legendary curves of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. But the management race of the circuit is everything but flattered.
Spa-Francorchamps’ board is considering legal action against the Japanese car brand, if “Eau Rouge” indeed ends up as the name of the car. Although the Q50 Eau Rouge is still a concept car, Infiniti is working to take the car into production.
Pierre-Alain Thibaut, director of Spa-Francorchamps, is clear: it is “theft of our brand”.
It is an interesting question whether Spa-Francorchamps has any legal grounds. Currently, the do not own a trademark for the name “Eau Rouge”. And even if they did, it is disputable whether the name of a specific curve in a race circuit can be a trademark at all. Copyright then maybe? Also quite disputable.
Maybe the circuit should just see it as a tribute to their legendary circuit. But considering their first reaction, they probably see it differently.
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