Ex-Aston Martin design boss opens lawsuit in response to British car maker’s demands for the cancellation of the Fisker Force 1 launch

Henrik Fisker has filed a $100 million lawsuit against former employer Aston Martin.

The renowned car designer is claiming damages after Aston Martin requested his company, Fisker Automobiles, cancel the launch of its Fisker Force 1 because it believes the new sports car’s design bears significant resemblance to its own products.

In a letter sent to Fisker on the 23 December 2015, David Kelly, an attorney representing Aston Martin, said the Force 1’s design should be changed to “avoid conflict with Aston Martin’s rights”. In particular, Aston Martin describes the design of the Force 1 as “strikingly similar” to its DB10. Fisker, however, believes the claims – which are based on a single teaser image – are unfounded, and his company has produced its own comparison images as evidence.

“We believe that in an effort to protect itself from further market erosion, Aston Martin conspired and devised a scheme to stomp out Henrik Fisker’s competitive presence in the luxury sports car industry,’  Fisker’s legal counsel, Jonathan Michaels of MLG Automotive Law, said. “Because of the threats they laid out in their letter we opted to play offense in regards to Aston Martin’s transparent and nefarious motives.”

Autocar contacted Aston Martin for a response, but it would not provide comment at this time.

Last year, Aston Martin demanded the cancellation of another Fisker, the Thunderbolt design prototype. In its lawsuit, the British car maker claimed the car’s design copied that of its Vanquish, describing the practice as “wholly unacceptable”. In this case, Fisker agreed to not produce the Thunderbolt and Aston Martin withdrew all legal proceedings.

Fisker’s decision to defend the design of the Force 1 sports car suggests this latest lawsuit won’t reach such an amicable conclusion. The car maker goes so far as saying that Aston Martin’s case is flawed because it’s based on a single teaser image. Interestingly, Aston Martin admitted in its letter: “We do not know what the final version of Fisker’s Force 1 will look like”.

The Force 1 is due to be unveiled alongside another new Fisker at the Detroit motor show later this month. Autocar understands that the Force 1 will feature carbonfibre bodwork and sit on 21in alloy wheels shod in Pirelli P Zero tyres. It's also expected to feature a new active suspension design, and is claimed to be powered by one of "the world's highest output naturally aspirated engines". Production will be limited to “up to 50 units”, priced from between £131,000 and £197,000.

Henrik Fisker is a former Aston Martin design boss, responsible for models such as the DB9 and V8 Vantage. He also headed the team that designed the BMW Z8 and is now a co-founder of Fisker Automobiles.

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Comments
8

5 January 2016
but does AM even have the mpney..

5 January 2016
Up to 50 units, at £ 197k each. That's just under £ 9 million of business, say $ 13 million, yet he's asking the courts for $ 100 million! Where did he pick that figure from? And yes, the sketch does look like an Aston, and his previous effort looked like an Aston because that's what it was! As for the DB9 and Vantage, both penned by Ian Callum before Fisker arrived at Aston. I'd struggle to point to anything original Fisker has done!

7 January 2016
Symanski wrote:
That I didn't know. As an original content creator I can assure you that really is theft.
Yeah we can all see that it's blatant but I get the understanding that it's not an easy thing to prove in court. This is a quote from an expert (not me obviously!) "If a company does think a design has been copied, however, it’s not that easy to prove. “The company would have to prove that there has been copying by assessing the objective similarities and deciding whether those similarities are the result of independent creation, or whether the infringing design has been derived from the original design,” said our expert. “There must be a causal connection between the two works, which can be difficult to prove". We do appear to have stricter control on copying than most in England but of course that doesn't stop what happens else where. Maybe Fisker is suing Aston to bank role the project in the first place as like you say there really doesn't seem to be any reason why he wouldn't just build it regardless of Aston's attempt to stop him

XXXX's intellect just went POP!

6 January 2016
Well if those Chinese knock off BMW X5's etc can't be seen as copies of the originals in a court of law I can't see how Aston has any hope that a sketch of a car which looks a little bit similar will fair any better. Not a justification of course but might just be the fact of the matter anyway

XXXX's intellect just went POP!

6 January 2016
gigglebug wrote:
Well if those Chinese knock off BMW X5's etc can't be seen as copies of the originals in a court of law I can't see how Aston has any hope
Difference is that in China the government turn a blind eye to copyright theft. As long as it's good for the Chinese economy they don't care. In Europe it's a different matter. And if Fisker was so sure of his design, then a warning from Aston shouldn't have stopped him. That it has is telling.

6 January 2016
Symanski wrote:
gigglebug wrote:
Well if those Chinese knock off BMW X5's etc can't be seen as copies of the originals in a court of law I can't see how Aston has any hope
Difference is that in China the government turn a blind eye to copyright theft. As long as it's good for the Chinese economy they don't care. In Europe it's a different matter. And if Fisker was so sure of his design, then a warning from Aston shouldn't have stopped him. That it has is telling.
I think you'll find that the Fake X5 was being sold from Italy to central Europe and indeed it was an Italian court that dismissed BMW's claims so it is relevant. The Thunderbolt was actually based on a Vanquish chassis so Fisker was in no position to claim it as his own and didn't, he just stated that if there was enough demand he would build them. You can understand Aston not wanting him to do so they put a stop to it. If the new car however is completely of Fiskers own design and doesn't use any Aston mechanical's then it will be a completely different matter and I can't see what they can do to stop him really

XXXX's intellect just went POP!

6 January 2016
gigglebug wrote:
I think you'll find that the Fake X5 was being sold from Italy to central Europe and indeed it was an Italian court that dismissed BMW's claims so it is relevant.
That I didn't know. As an original content creator I can assure you that really is theft.
gigglebug wrote:
The Thunderbolt was actually based on a Vanquish chassis so Fisker was in no position to claim it as his own and didn't, he just stated that if there was enough demand he would build them.
It was too similar to the the Vanquish and they were right stop him. I'm sure if he did something original I'd be more impressed by him.
gigglebug wrote:
If the new car however is completely of Fiskers own design and doesn't use any Aston mechanical's then it will be a completely different matter and I can't see what they can do to stop him really
Totally agree. But from the sketch it's far far too similar to the DB10. Sure Fisker is pointing differences, and they are subtle too, but there's too many other aspect that are identical to how you'd draw a concept of the DB10. In the long run, forcing Fisker to be original will benefit Fisker more than Aston. He should thank them!

7 January 2016
No idea why it's sent my post up there!??

XXXX's intellect just went POP!

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