Ferrari loses rights to Testarossa name in Germany

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A 1990 Ferrari Testarossa with its famous side strakes | Barrett-Jackson
A 1990 Ferrari Testarossa with its famous side strakes | Barrett-Jackson

In a surprise decision, a German court has ruled that Ferrari does not have exclusive rights to the name Testarossa, allowing a toy company to use the famed moniker for a number of its products.

As a result, the long-held Ferrari nameplate -– Italian for “red head” as in the crimson color of the cars’  valve covers –- could soon appear in Germany on a variety of consumer products, from electric shavers to bicycles. So one might shave in the morning with a Testarossa, then drive a Testarossa into the office.

A 1956 Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa was a British concours winner | Salon Prive
A 1956 Ferrari 500 Testa Rossa was a British concours winner | Salon Prive

The toy company, Autec AG, contended that Ferrari had abandoned the name since it had not produced a Testarossa since 1996. Ferrari countered that it still uses the name for parts and services.

The decision could have implications beyondGermany’s borders and, if applied internationally,  Testarossa could be used by just about anybody. In the future, there could be such things as Testarossa cellphones, Testarossa sports jackets, Testarossa toothpaste or Testarossa chocolate-chip cookies.

Naturally, Ferrari is expected to appeal. The Modena automaker first used the Testa Rossa name as two words in 1956 for its spectacular 500 TR sports-racing roadsters, and for subsequent Testa Rossa racers and Spyders built into the 1960s. Nowadays, they are among the world’s most-valuable collector cars, selling in the eight figures at auction.

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The Testarossas most-familiar today are the V12 coupes produced in two series from 1984 through 1996. About 10,000 of them were made.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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