Simple trade name case

Actually, this is just a simple trade name issue: MRCAR uses the name first and then comes across another car dealer’s website that goes public under the name MRCARS. I won’t take that, MRCAR thinks, and takes it to court. A logical step.


Very similar

Reading the March 1, 2024 ruling, things also seem to be moving in the right direction at first. The district judge notes that MRCAR holds the oldest trade name rights. Next, the judge informs that visually and aurally, MRCAR and MRCARS are “very similar”. The names “differ from each other only slightly,” according to the judge. Agreed!

Occasions: left MRCAR, right MRCARS. Different?


Nature of enterprises different?

But then it comes: according to the judge, “the nature” of the two businesses is different. Hmmm, these are just two car dealerships, right? True, but they are cars ‘from a different segment,’ the judge said. ‘MRCAR in particular offers middle-class cars with a year of construction 2018/2022 and the occasional luxury car, while MRCARS on the other hand often sells cars with a year of construction from 2005 and sometimes in the late 1990s, with prices between €500 and €10,000.’ In short, “the parties therefore do not offer similar services,” the judge ruled. Therefore, there is no danger of confusion.

Good chance on appeal

Now isn’t that very short of the mark? In my opinion, calling the nature of the businesses here “different” because cars from different build years and different price ranges are being traded is going way too far. Surely it is just selling used cars on both sides? Had it been about the sale of brand new Rolls Royces versus the trade in old second hand cars, I could have had some sympathy for it. No, as far as I am concerned, confusion is just lurking here and there should be good chances for MRCAR on appeal.

Bas Kist