Audi Hits EV Startup NIO With a Trademark Lawsuit Over its Vehicle Naming
China's electric vehicle startup NIO Inc, which is expanding to Europe including Germany, was named in a lawsuit filed from German carmaker Audi over the naming of its electric SUVs.
NIO currently offers a seven-passenger SUV named the ES8, as well as a mid-size model named the ES6.
According to trademark lawsuit filed by Audi, the two NIO models infringe on its trademark for its own performance models designations, the S6 and S8, German news outlet Handelsblatt reported.
The ES8 was NIO's first vehicle and launched in 2018, so its been on sale in China for over four years. NIO followed up the ES8 with the smaller ES6 SUV in 2019. But now that NIO has plans to enter the German market, Audi has taken issue with the names of the two electric SUVs.
The Audi S8 and S6 are also sold in China, NIO's home market, so its not clear why Audi waited until now to file its trademark lawsuit.
In June of 2021, NIO announced it received approval to sell its fully-electric ES8 SUV in Europe, paving the way for the company's expansion for the first time outside of China.
NIO announced its entry into Norway on May 6, 2021. On June 11, NIO announced that it received European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EWVTA) for its ES8, its flagship SUV. The EWVTA certification marked the first steps for NIO's entry into Norway and the European market at large.
With its EWVTA certification, the NIO ES8 electric SUV is officially approved for mass production and license plate registration in all EU countries, which includes Germany.
The company started deliveries of the first ES8 to customers in Norway in Sept 2021.
Before Sept 2021, NIO had never sold the ES8 SUV outside of China.
NIO has emerged as one of China's promising new electric vehicle startups and recently reached deliveries of 200,000 electric vehicles. As of April 30, NIO's cumulative deliveries were 197,912 vehicles. Of this amount, 30,842 were delivered in the first four months of this year.
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