Why Doesn’t Ferrari Sue Over Fake Ferraris?

Don’t you hate clickbait articles that ask an interesting question, then make you read a few paragraphs of boring background information before answering the damn question? Well this isn’t one of those. The reason Ferrari doesn’t sue “Fauxrarri” makers is because . . .

I don’t know. There are several possible explanations, which I’ll cover in a moment (ha!).

But it’s not because Ferrari can’t or is unwilling to sue. That much was proven last November, when Ferrari successfully sued German tuner Mansori Design for their 4XX Siracusa body kit.

The $250k bodywork bits added a V-shaped section to the car’s hood and front bumper, transforming a ho-hum 488 GTB into a $2.6m Ferrari FXX K lookalike.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a component is an individual part with design rights if it’s “a visible section of the product or complex product, clearly defined by particular lines, contours, colors, shapes or texture.” [NB: Mansory it still modding Ferraris.]

If Ferrari sued someone for putting a V-shape snout on an actual Ferrari, how come they didn’t bother suing the crap out of the ridiculous Fauxrarris that dare show their faces on eBay?

You Sad Little Man

1985 Camaro

While I credit the person responsible for the Fauxrarri above both for their chutzpah and a keen appreciation for kitsch, the madman put prancing horse badges and little silver horsies on the thing! Excuse the Lambo reference, but surely that’s a red rag to a bully.

Perhaps Ferrari doesn’t want to appear to be a killjoy or bully. Laughing Stock? Ferrari is considered to be – or at least considers itself to be – the ultimate automaker. Taking sad little people to court over dumb ass replicas would make them seem . . . small. The press would be all over it, and not in a good way.

Go Forth And Sin No More

There’s also the possibility that Ferrari does bring their legal might to bear on small time Ferrari replica makers, who quietly hoist the white flag and promise to go forth and sin no more.

Back in the day, India’s Executive Modcar Trendz created the ghetto-fabulous Toyota MR2-based Fauxrarri F430 above. They sure don’t do that no ‘mo.

But What If We Lose?

Pontiac Fiero

Maybe Ferrari would lose if they sued.

In U.S. copyright law, a copy of a copyrighted design can be protected under “fair use” provisions within Section 107 of the Copyright Act. That’s as long as it meets certain criteria. If the courts consider the replica a form of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research or “transformative” art.

LOLs on the F50 Fiero Fauxrrari above qualifying as art – or anything other than a way to be called a wanker without owning a Ferrari. But there is something relevant to these automotive abominations within the Act . . .

No Harm, No Foul?

Ferrari F430

Courts review whether, and to what extent, the unlicensed use harms the existing or future market for the copyright owner’s original work. In assessing this factor, courts consider whether the use is hurting the current market for the original work (for example, by displacing sales of the original) and/or whether the use could cause substantial harm if it were to become widespread.

courtesy copyright.gov

The chances of the God-awful Fauxrrari Enzo above harming the market for real Ferraris, or becoming a mass production item, are somewhere between slim and none, and Slim just left town.

That’s despite the fact that this so-not-an-Enzo sits atop an actual honest-to-God Ferrari F430. As Commander Kurtz whispered as he shuffled off this mortal coil, the horror. The horror.

I Coulda Been a Contenda

Datsun 280Z

Which brings us to the most famous Ferrari fake of them all: the not-a-Daytona featured in Miami Vice (top image). Or is it this Datsun-based Ferrari 250 GTO replica featured in The Italian Job, Ford V Ferrari and Overdrive? McBurnie Coachcraft lovingly crafted both vehicles. And then . . .

Shortly after the Ferrari [Daytona] lawsuit, McBurnie Coachcraft was burned to the ground late one night in an act of arson – no one has ever been brought to justice for the crime, and it stopped the company from producing any more replicas as they had lost their fiberglass body moulds.

Courtesy silodrome.com

Some might say that McBurnie’s fate indicates that Ferrari’s legal team is excellent at making Fauxrarri builders an offer they can’t refuse, but I couldn’t possibly comment. Except to point out that there aint’ nothin’ like the real thing baby. Unless there is.

Related Posts