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VW USA is suing VDubs solely because of trademark law

VW USA is suing VDubs solely because of trademark law

VW is currently very happy with complaints around the world. While the European manufacturer is cracking down on gray imports of its Chinese models, there is currently a trademark dispute involving lawyers and courts in the USA. Volkswagen Group of America, the American subsidiary of the Lower Saxony automobile company, has filed a lawsuit against used car dealer “VDubs Only, Inc.” From Dallas, Texas. The lawsuit was filed on April 26, 2024, in Michigan District Court (Case No. 2:2024cv11117).

Volkswagen finds its trademark rights violated by the car dealer on several levels. This includes, among other things, the name of the company. The term “V-Dub” is an abbreviation and in North America is synonymous with VW, which is properly pronounced (in purely phonetic terms) “Wie Dabbel You”. Volkswagen has owned the rights to the term “V-Dub” since the end of the 2000s. However, there may be a small detail here: Volkswagen owns the rights to the hyphenated spelling, but only VDubs is written without this letter.

“Illegal appropriation” and “fake logo copy”

The group now argues that the company name “VDubs Only” is an “unlawful appropriation” of the term. Especially since the dealer claims to “specialize in Volkswagen and Audi.” To make matters worse, the Dallas company used a logo that was a “fake copy” of Volkswagen's trademark logo. In fact, there are similarities between the two badges. Especially in the upper area, where the “V” blends seamlessly into the rounded edge. There is also a similarity in colours, with 'VDubs Only' using blue and white just like Volkswagen, although VW's blue is now noticeably darker.

© Volkswagen

“New Volkswagen”
Rebranding with new VW logo

According to the lawsuit, the combination of the company's name, logo and description could lead to confusion among customers. The use of Volkswagen's trademarks may “cause potential purchasers of Defendant's products and services, as well as the general public, to believe that Defendant's products and services are affiliated with, licensed, sponsored or approved by Volkswagen.”

Now with Porsche in the logo

According to US media reports, Volkswagen Group of America is seeking a permanent injunction. The manufacturer wants to prevent Texans from using the disputed trademarks and logos. In addition, the dealer must pay legal and court costs and transfer its Internet domains to Volkswagen USA. VDubs Only has since changed its logo (it now displays a stylized orange Porsche 911 on a black background), but the company hasn't dropped the name yet. To date, the site is still under “vdubsonlydallas.com“reachable.

Conclusion

Volkswagen has filed a lawsuit against used car dealer “VDubs Only” over alleged trademark infringements. The car company says its name and logo could encourage confusion. The Dallas, Texas-based company has since changed its logo. We're excited to see what Porsche thinks of the new version.

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