European trademark officials believe that Porsche’s synthetic engine sound isn’t worthy of trademark. The reason? It isn’t memorable or distinct enough.
Porsche submitted their sound for trademark in November 2022 to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), which has since been rejected and is undergoing appeal by Porsche.
Replacement sounds are required on EVs to ensure that those who can’t see well can tell if a car is coming. That’s all well and good, but the problem is that Porsche’s engine sound is too much like that made by a regular internal-combustion engine which isn’t recognisable enough to be identified as a Porsche.
For their part, Porsche explained in very flowery language why their EV sound was “unusual” and different from the rest. They argued that it wasn’t derived from an engine but was artificially created and went on to describe it as “futuristic, melodious, and has a certain tempo as well as motives and dynamics.” If that didn’t make you roll your eyes, Porsche even compared their sound to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, one of the greatest pieces of music ever created.
Porsche went further comparing their sound to lightsabres from Star Wars and Kitt from Knight Rider, arguing that their simplicity didn’t make them any less memorable.
“According to the Office, it is a sound that, although not realistic, imitates the sound of an internal-combustion engine accelerating until it reaches the desired speed,” according to documents obtained by Drive.
“However, the fundamental issue is not so much whether the consumer will perceive the sound of an engine or not, but whether that sound will enable the relevant public to distinguish [Porsche’s vehicles] from those of other suppliers.
“Since the tone mark does not contain any striking or memorable elements, the relevant consumer is not able to recognise this exact tone sequence and assign it to a specific provider.”
The German car company pointed towards its rival, BMW, for having received an approved trademark for their EV sound as grounds for approval which Porsche has already received in Germany.
According to Drive, Porsche have launched an appeal.