Porsche is currently appealing a decision by European trademark authorities regarding a sound designed to replace the near-silence of an electric vehicle accelerating. Porsche had submitted the sound as a trademark, aiming to address the need for electric vehicles to emit identifiable sounds for vision-impaired pedestrians.
However, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) rejected the trademark application, stating that the sound lacked distinctiveness and resembled a traditional internal combustion engine, making it unrecognisable as distinctly Porsche. Porsche appealed this decision, highlighting that the sound was artificially created and not derived from an engine.
They emphasised that even simplified sounds, like Lightsabers in Star Wars, can be memorable and cited a similar approved trademark by BMW for an electric-car sound.
The crux of the matter lies in whether the sound enables the relevant public to distinguish Porsche’s models from others. The EUIPO argued that since the sound lacked striking or memorable elements, consumers would not be able to recognise and assign it to Porsche.
Despite the initial rejection, Porsche has pursued an appeal to secure the trademark for this distinct electric vehicle sound.