Volkswagen drops appeal in "GTi" dispute with Suzuki

FRANKFURT, Sept 22 Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:55pm IST

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FRANKFURT, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Volkswagen has dropped its appeal of a court ruling in a brand infringement case against estranged partner Suzuki, a spokesman for the German carmaker said on Saturday, confirming an earlier report.

In 2004, Volkswagen contested an application granted to Suzuki allowing the Japanese company to use the vehicle nameplate "SWIFT GTi" as a trademark for a derivative of its small car.

The General Court of the European Union said in March that the Suzuki version could not be confused with its own high-performance Golf GTI, which it had trademarked in Germany and other international markets.

The ruling came when the two companies were embroiled in a separate arbitration battle over whether Volkswagen may be forced to divest its near-20 percent stake in Suzuki, bought for 1.7 billion euros ($2.2 billion) as part of a broad alliance agreed more than two years ago.

German daily Die Welt earlier said Volkswagen had dropped its appeal several weeks ago already. ($1 = 0.7699 euros) (Reporting by Stefanie Huber; Writing by Maria Sheahan)

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