PORSCHE BACK IN COURT AGAIN
The involvement in the diesel exhaust scandal is currently not the only legal worksite with which Germany’s prominent carmaker Porsche has to deal.
Last week, the District Court Stuttgart advised on the admissibility of a lawsuit filed by Ingrid Steineck, the daughter of former Porsche chief designer Erwin Komenda.
In the matter, it concerns the question, who is responsible for the world-famous design of the Porsche 911 and its predecessor model 356. Steineck sees her deceased father as authoritative creator and has sued Porsche for additional payment of up to 20 million euros for the use of copyright. It should be remembered that copyright is inheritable and only expires 70 years after the creator’s death.
It is not surprising that the carmaker sees this completely different and ascribes the design essentially to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, a grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche. A possible comparison was also rejected because Komendas share of the sports car has already been „sufficiently appreciated“.
The District Court now faces the difficult task of clarifying how much of the Porsche 356 is in the 911 model and whether the models represent an above-average design performance at all. It also has to be examined whether the „Ur-911er“ is still recognizable in the current models today.
Whether the court succeeds in a plausible analysis remains to be seen. In particular, after so many decades, the question of who was ultimately mainly responsible for the design of the sports car – Komenda or Porsche – can hardly be clarified beyond doubt. The case is of fundamental importance, since it is still unclear whether car designers have any claim to copyright on the models created by them. For this reason, it can probably be assumed that, sooner or later, the Federal Court of Justice will have to deal with this matter.