Let’s get back in time: EICMA November 2018. The Italian Police confiscated all Kumpan’s scooters on display at this world’s largest trade exhibition in Milan in response to accusations of copyright infringement made by Piaggio. The German Kumpan team surrounding Patrik Tykesson had to experience this for themselves when the industry giant Piaggio, after comparing the performance data, had the result of years of development removed from the young company’s stand at EICMA. This was an extreme step that attracted a lot of attention in the media at the time under the hashtag #freekumpan. (You can read THE PACK’s article from November 2018 here)
Source: press release e-bility GmbH | Today, an important ruling has been made in the long-running legal dispute over the vehicle design of German e-scooter manufacturer Kumpan electric with Italian Vespa manufacturer Piaggio: The Italian Vespa manufacturer had lodged a complaint regarding the design of the Kumpan electric scooter, which is protected EU-wide, as it believed it to be an infringement of its own trademark rights, design rights and intellectual property rights to the design of the famous Vespa motor scooters. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) had already rejected Piaggio’s complaint in the first instance. With its ruling on August 8, 2022 (case number R 1663/2020-3), the EUIPO’s Board of Appeal has now also rejected the subsequent appeal lodged by Piaggio in its entirety.
Piaggio now has two months to appeal against the EU trademark court’s decision –otherwise the decision will become final. “We are delighted and relieved that it has once again been confirmed at the European level: Our design is not a copy of a Vespa scooter. We are setting new standards in design and technology,” says Philipp Tykesson, one of the founders and managing directors of e-bility GmbH, the company behind the brand Kumpan electric.
Kumpan electric’s success in the EUIPO appeal case represents another important victory at this stage of the dispute with Piaggio. “This long-running legal battle has tied up huge resources and excluded us from one of the most important scooter markets in Europe – Italy. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with the family that owns Piaggio as soon as possible, ideally before the next EICMA in November, in order to pre-empt any future disputes, and to jointly advance the issue of sustainable personal transport,” says Tykesson.
Ruling impacts on the entire industry
The ruling will likely have an impact far beyond the two companies involved: “The EUIPO’s ruling clearly signals that Piaggio does not have the sole rights to the classic motor scooter design. This means that creative e-scooter players can also find ways into this important future market with their own innovative designs,” says patent lawyer Matthias Wagner of law firm Wagner Albiger & Partner.
Kumpan electric manufactures e-scooters of various categories entirely in Remagen (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany), and is the only manufacturer in the 25 to 100km/h category (L3e) to mainly rely on components made in Germany. In July 2022, more than 85 percent of the parts it uses to manufacture its scooters were sourced from German suppliers. This secures Kumpan electric’s position as a leading innovator in the e-scooter market. Cooperating with mainly local suppliers guarantees a better component availability, as well as the prompter realisation of innovations.