Bollinger Motors sues Munro Vehicles for the similarity of its electric vehicles • TechCrunch
Two electric vehicle startups may soon be fighting in court over alleged breach of contract and patent infringement.
EV startup Bollinger Motors filed a lawsuit this week in the Southern U.S. District of New York against Munro Vehicles and its chief designer, alleging breach of contract, patent infringement and trade apparel infringement, according to court documents.
The central figures in the lawsuit are the Bollinger B1 SUV and the B2 truck, the Munro MK_1 SUV, and Ross Compton, a former contract designer for Bollinger who became Munro’s lead designer. Bollinger alleges in the lawsuit that Compton breached his contract and violated a mutual nondisclosure agreement by referring to Bollinger’s confidential files, with Munro’s knowledge, while designing Munro products.
Bollinger also alleges that Munro infringed two of its patents for its original vehicle designs and trade dress infringement, a legal term that means resemblance between the brands’ products could confuse a buyer. Bollinger claims this will inflict irreparable harm on the brand.
Munro CEO Russell Peterson told TechCrunch in an emailed statement that the company is aware of the allegations raised by Bollinger Motors Inc.
“The company takes intellectual property infringement very seriously and Munro intends to vigorously defend its position on the unique design of the Munro MK_1 all-terrain vehicle,” he wrote.
Both Bollinger and Munro have developed rugged off-road vehicles for commercial use. Munro, based in Scotland, specifically targets farmers, miners and those working in heavy industry sectors. The company, founded in 2021 by Peterson and Ross Anderson, has announced plans to release its Munro MK_1 in 2024.
Bollinger Motors, a Michigan-based startup founded by Robert Bollinger in 2015, focuses on producing all-electric utility vehicles for classes 3 through 6. The company originally planned to produce the Bollinger B1 and off-road electric SUVs and pickup trucks. B2. He then introduced a chassis designed for a Class 3 utility vehicle in an effort to expand his customer base.
Bollinger suspended development of its B1 and B2 vehicles in January 2022. Nine months later, Mullen Automotive, an electric vehicle startup that went public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company, took a 60% stake in Bollinger. The transaction injected a much needed $148.2 million into the startup.
The companies said, at the time, the investment would help accelerate the development of Bollinger-class commercial electric trucks, including a Class 4 vehicle expected in 2023, and help it resume its consumer truck program. . Production of the B4 is now expected to begin in early 2024.
This extra capital seems to have done the job. The B1 and B2 consumer trucks are back on track, according to Robert Bollinger, who added that the company will announce the production schedule at a later date. Bollinger has working prototypes of the B4 and plans pilot programs this summer.
Bollinger still maintains its own board of directors and Robert Bollinger continues to serve as its CEO. Asked about the lawsuit, Robert Bollinger said Mullen was not mentioned in the lawsuit because the company retains ownership of the intellectual property portfolio and has an obligation to defend it.