BMW Rightfully Keeps the “M” and Teaches a Lesson

When you think of an “M” vehicle, do you think of a BMW or an Infiniti? I for one definitely think of the Bmw M3, M5, and M6. I would even think of a future car that has not been released or confirmed yet- the Bmw M7. Ultimately, I think of Bmw M performance cars – vehicles that enthusiasts salivate over.

The Infiniti M45 never even crosses my mind when thinking of the “M” associated vehicle. So why did Infiniti think that they could use this “M” letter with their M6 packaged G35 Coupe and their M45 sedan? Bmw had been using this letter on their performance cars way before Infiniti- Infiniti just started using this label on their cars in 2004 on their M45 Sedan. Bmw’s “M” usage relates all the back to 1978 on the M3.

So what happened to Infiniti in court over the battle of the M? The judge rightfully found Infiniti “liable, in damages to be determined … for the use of the M letter and the descriptor M6 as trademarks for automobiles, parts and accessories, which caused a likelihood of confusion between the sources of its wares and of BMW’s."

The rulings also stated:

"The defendant is also ordered to deliver to the plaintiffs or to destroy under oath, all literature, invoices, packaging, signs, advertisements, promotional or marketing material, printed or otherwise recorded, in the possession, custody or control of the defendant which may be considered to offend the injunction now granted."

Let this be a lesson to Infiniti for trying to capitalize on the Bmw “M” Enthusiast driven symbol. Infiniti was wrong for using the M letter in relation to the G35 vehicle with the “M6 Package” and wrong for labeling their sedan the M45 and will have to pay. There is no doubt in my mind that they were trying to use the M symbol to help drive their performance car sales. Lets hope automakers are more careful in their vehicle labeling in the future.

What do you think?


  (1) posted on 04.11.2007

Another reason to not buy a BMW. Maybe they should have saved the money spent on the lawyers to build a better car, given the recent 335i limp-home-after-4-laps episode when taking the G37 on head to head in Edmunds first drive.

  (5) posted on 03.26.2007

yea...but M45 is not a performance’s just a car that can topple the RL because it’s...better than the RL? not sure...

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