Bollinger Motors sues Munro Vehicles over MK_1 design

Well, that didn’t take long. Scotland’s Munro Vehicles announced in December that it began taking reservations for its MK_1 battery-electric off-roader — a tall, chunky rectangle aimed at industries like forestry and mining. Quite a few folks noticed the MK_1 bore a resemblance to the Bollinger Motors B1 SUV and B2 pickup. Munro Head of Design Ross Compton was under contract as an exterior designer for Bollinger Motors from 2015 to 2017, according to Compton’s LinkedIn page. He then went to Atlis Motor Vehicles from 2018 to 2021, designing a more traditional pickup concept called the XT that turned into another T-square affair as production neared.

At the end of 2021, he made the leap to Munro and worked up the MK_1. With Bollinger having secured financing to bring the B1 and B2 to production, and Munro planning to launch in the U.S. and Canada later this year, Bollinger decided to act. The U.S.-based Bollinger filed suit against All Terrain All Electric Ltd. DBA Munro Vehicles and Compton in United States Southern District Court of New York on January 31, 2023.

In a copy of the suit obtained by Autoblog, the company says the non-functional “trade dress” design elements are part of “extensively advertised” key brand identifiers, explicitly citing “exposed hardware and hinges, extensive use of flat surfaces, aesthetic chamfered surfaces, flat and parallel body lines, and a distinctive wheel arch shape.”

“As a result of time, effort, and money invested in its vehicle trade dress, Bollinger’s vehicle trade dress has acquired secondary meaning, significant goodwill, and serves uniquely to identify Bollinger’s vehicles,” it said. 

The suit alleges Compton breached his non-disclosure agreement with Bollinger by using confidential Bollinger intellectual property to create the MK_1, and that the MK_1 infringes on Bollinger’s original vehicle design patents for the B1 and B2. Bollinger wants a permanent injunction against Munro continuing with the MK_1 as is, all legal and court fees, all profits Munro might have made or might make from the MK_1, and damages from Compton for violating the NDA.   

Munro CEO Russell Peterson said in a statement emailed to TechCrunch, “Munro is aware of the allegations raised by Bollinger Motors inc. The company takes IP infringement extremely seriously and Munro intends to robustly defend its position over the unique design of the Munro MK_1 all-terrain vehicle.”

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