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Symbol Bad, Acronym Good

Bayerische Motoren Werke is known by one and all as BMW and their roundel symbol is recognised worldwide. Unsurprisingly, it is also a trade mark.

So when a non-franchised garage put the logo and BMW acronym outside its premises, BMW took action. It alleged that the use of the roundel and the BMW lettering would confuse the public into believing that the garage was an authorised BMW repairer.

The court agreed, but only in part. It held that the BMW symbol would cause such confusion, but the lettering alone would not. The latter would imply only that the business offered repairs to and maintenance on BMW vehicles.

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