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Hyundai blocks Nissan’s N Sport bid

Not so fast: Nissan has applied the N Tec badge to a variant of its facelifted Qashqai, but two similar badges – N Sport and N Trek – ran into opposition from Hyundai.

Nissan and Hyundai blue over N Sport trademark for Australia

Nissan logo5 Apr 2018

RIVAL motor companies Nissan and Hyundai are locked in a trademark dispute over the right to the name N Sport.

Nissan Australia and Hyundai Motor Company both lodged applications for N Sport registration in 2016, but so far, neither has been approved, seemingly putting the logo in limbo.

Hyundai opposed Nissan’s application on the grounds that it infringed on its previously registered N global trademark for its performance division that was lodged in 2014.

N Sport was one of three ‘N’ trademarks sought by Nissan for the Australian market, the others being N Tec and N Trek.

The N Tec was approved unopposed, and has since been applied to a variant of the 2018 Qashqai compact SUV launched in December.

However, Hyundai lodged an objection to the N Sport and N Trek applications that are currently marked as “pending, opposed” on the IP Australia website, and subject to a cooling-off period until April 22.

A Nissan Australia spokesman told GoAuto that the company had not given up on the N Sport trademark application.

Hyundai lodged its global trademark application for N in June 2014 as it planned its high-performance car division. The trademark was accepted in April 2015, and thus pre-dated the Nissan application by more than a year.

It followed by lodging an application in August 2016 for N Sport, but that application is marked as “under examination, deferred”.

GoAuto understands that Hyundai wants to use the N Sport name for performance packs on Hyundai cars, in the same way as BMW’s M division uses M Sport.

The N stands variously for Namyong – Hyundai’s vehicle development centre in South Korea – and Nurburgring, in Germany, where Hyundai does much of its chassis development out of an engineering centre next to the famous track.

The Hyundai N brand was formally launched in Australia last month with the debut of the South Korean company’s first N-enhanced car, the 202kW i30 N – a rival for hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Just 300 of the cars are expected to be imported into Australia this year.

Other N products are expected to follow, including a fastback i30 N with a 184kW version of Hyundai’s turbo 2.0-litre engine.

It is unclear what Nissan Australia have in mind for the N Sport and N Trek names, but they would seem to fit with sporty or off-road special editions of vehicles such as the Navara.

Most other ute manufacturers have such variants in the pipeline. These include Ford’s Ranger Raptor, HSV’s Colorado SportsCat and Toyota’s HiLux Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X.

Battles over trademarks are not new in the Australian motor industry. Hyundai was forced to change the name of its Elantra to Lantra for Australia after Mitsubishi objected because it deemed it too close to its Elante badge for a Magna variant.

However, after the demise of the Elante, Hyundai reverted to Elantra badge for its small sedan.

Ford was also on the receiving end of such a dispute with Toyota which blockedFord’s use of the name Edge in Australia. Ford had wanted to use the global Edge name for its upcoming large SUV, but Toyota said no, pointing to its trademarked name for a RAV4 variant.

Instead, Ford had to invent a new name, Endura, just for Australia.

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