UK: London cab manufacturer sues green cab rival image

The producer that holds the license to the city of London’s iconic black cab has decided to call into court the companies that have banded together to deliver an emissions free competitor, claiming the almost identical design would be confusing for drivers and clients.

The London Taxi Company, currently a wholly owned subsidiary of China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., announced that Frazer-Nash Research Ltd. and Ecotive Ltd.’s zero-emission Metrocab was violating its trademarks. “It is actually all about the shape,” commented Douglas Campbell, a lawyer for the cab-maker. The companies are scheduled to go to trial this November. The spark of dissent was initialized by London Mayor Boris Johnson when he said last year the city wants all new taxis to be emissions free by 2018 in a concerted effort to curb pollution in the sprawling metropolis. Geely is currently pouring 250 million pounds ($387 million) in a new plant in Coventry to manufacture environmentally friendlier variants of the well-known black cab.

Meanwhile, Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive announced last month they would begin building their new version – the Metrocab – starting next year in a deal with privately held manufacturer Multimatic Holdings Inc. “The identity of the manufacturer of the car is a matter of supreme indifference to the passenger,” Frazer-Nash commented in documents at a London court hearing. Coincidentally, their 50-million pound joint venture facility would also be located in the vicinity of Coventry. Frazer-Nash’s zero-emission Metrocab is not yet in use on the streets of London, as it has only started trials.

Via Bloomberg