The Detroit News has a story this weekend about a lawsuit over replicas of the famous 1963 Grand Sport racing Corvettes. General Motors is suing Mongoose Motorsports of Ohio for trademark violations. Looking at the Mongoose website, it appears GM has a point.
The Corvette brand is one of GM's most valuable properties, and GM has licensed Duntov Motor Company of Texas to build authorized replicas of the original Grand Sport race cars.
The 1963 Grand Sport cars are legendary in the Corvette world. Five cars were built more or less in secret by Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov before GM management quashed the project. The five cars are now among the most valuable Corvettes in the world, selling for several million dollars apiece on the collector car auction circuit.
Like any company, GM has to defend its trademarks or they will not be enforceable in the future. Companies that sell replicas of classic cars have to walk a fine line between originality and respecting the rights of the original manufacturer. It's worth noting that no mention is made of any plan to pursue buyers of the Mongoose cars.
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