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Haas is Suing Guenther Steiner Over Alleged Trademark Infringement

Court papers lodged in the Central District of California, Western Division, see Haas arguing that Steiner and his publisher, Ten Speed Press, acted unlawfully by publishing images that breach trademark...

It’s been just a few days since former Hass team principal, Guenther Steiner, filed a lawsuit against his old Formula 1 team for alleged unpaid commissions, but the team are hitting back. Haas are now suing Steiner for alleged trademark infringements in his 2023 book Driving to Survive.

Court papers lodged in the Central District of California, Western Division, see Haas arguing that Steiner and his publisher, Ten Speed Press, acted unlawfully by publishing images that breach trademark laws.

“In 2023, without permission or consent from Haas Automation, Steiner authored, marketed, promoted, sold, distributed, and profited from a publication titled ‘Surviving to Drive’ (the ‘Accused Product’), which unlawfully used and displayed, and continues to use and display, the Haas Automation Trademarks and the Haas Automation Trade Dress for Steiner’s personal financial gain and illicit profit,” the document alleges.

“Haas Automation never consented to Steiner’s use of the Haas Automation Trademarks or the Haas Automation Trade Dress on the Accused Product.”

The document continues to explain that Haas had made Steiner aware of its concerns before publication but hadn’t received a satisfactory response which is why they’re pursuing legal action. Haas gave “pre-lawsuit notice” to Steiner but he has taken “no action to cease or mitigate his infringing acts.”

Haas are seeking damages from Steiner and his publisher and have asked for a trial by jury.

The papers argue that the photographs within the book, including those on the front cover, feature several federally related trademarks for its CNC machine tools business and motorsport activities unlawfully.

Should this lawsuit go ahead, it is likely that the jury will have to evaluated whether Steiner and Ten Speed Press’ use of the images could be considered fair use. Fair use allows individuals and publishers to use other’s trademarks without consent if they are providing commentary, criticism, news reporting, and comedy amongst others.

Steiner was the team principal at Haas for eight years before his contract was not renewed at the end of 2023. He became a cult figure after his expletive ridden appearances on Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.

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