Chinese look-alike

The whole issue stems from a long-running dispute between Piaggio and Chinese scooter maker Znen, which has branches in Italy. The Chinese make scooters that look quite similar to the famous Vespa scooters, such as the Fosti Grande Retro brand scooters. To prevent Piaggio from putting a spoke in Fosti’s wheel, the Chinese have been making every effort for years to fight Piaggio’s intellectual property rights.

Fosti Grande Retro
Fosti Grande Retro


Trademark cancelled

Similarly, the Chinese attacked the shape trademark registration of the Vespa, arguing that the shape was not distinctive. In 2021, the EUIPO Board of Appeal agreed with the Chinese and had Piaggio’s registration cancelled.

European trademark registration form mark no. 11686482



However, on appeal, the European General Court has now ruled that Piaggio has presented sufficient evidence that the shape mark is well established and that the appearance of the Vespa is “iconic”. As relevant evidence, the Court cited, among other things, the fact that the Vespa has even been on display at the MOMA in New York and the appearance of the Vespa in many world-famous movies. Thus, Piaggio’s shape trademark registration is simply valid. Justice at last.

Bas Kist

Bas Kist is mede-oprichter van Merkenbureau Chiever. Hij schrijft regelmatig artikelen over merken- en auteursrecht in de Volkskrant en Adformatie. Daarnaast is hij docent bij de European Institute for Brand management EURIB.