If you are an upwardly mobile driver who can only afford a Ford but still wants to be seen around town driving a Bentley, before becoming a millionaire and spending a few hundred thousand dollars, you might have considered the Bentley "car kit."
The idea was to take a cheaper car and deck it out with sufficient copycat parts and trim elements to mimic a luxury automobile. The only problem is that such a creative approach infringes upon the luxury car maker's trademarks and patents, at least according to a federal judge in Florida.
British luxury car manufacturer Bentley Motors, which is owned by Volkswagen Group of America, sued Matthew McEntegart and Fugazzi Cars in St. Petersberg, Florida, alleging that they had infringed upon the car maker's trademarks and patents by selling Bentley car kits.
McEntegart, for his part, had mounted an ineffective legal defense and ended up filing for bankruptcy.
He defended by asserting that he had used disclaimers that the molds used for the parts were not genuine Bentley molds, and that he had done nothing except paint cars that were already outfitted with the car kits. The defense apparently wasn't persuasive and the Court entered an injunction against further sales. A hearing on damages is scheduled for later this year.
Previous cases in Florida have directly addressed the issue of "car kits," with Ferrari previously winning such a case against a similar car kit maker.