Thursday, November 02, 2017

Lost TradeMark Battle Could See London Taxi Market Open To Other Manufactures.

It was all over the trade news outlets yesterday that LTC (now calling themselves LEVC) have lost their embittered trademark battle with MetroCab. 

And yet when the eye watering news came out that LTC's parent company Geely would be making a zero emission electric vehicle with the intention of offering it to Uber.....not a word appeared in our trade media. 

But then again, I suppose it was only to be expected with all the advertising revenue flying about. 

Funny how a few quids worth of advertising can change values in the Taxi trade. 
Let's go back to 14th June 2016, and have a little look at what was published in the Automotive News China.

'London Taxi Co., a U.K. subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., 
showed the TX5 prototype in Paris last Thursday.
The rollout of the TX5 is part of a $400 million program that includes a new factory near Coventry, England. 
In addition to targeting traditional cabbies, London Taxi also plans to offer the car to ride-sharing apps such as Uber and its competitors.' 
Source Automotive News China. 14th June 2016.

I don't recall reading this in any of our Taxi trade publication. 

Now Coventry's London Taxi Company have lost the black cab trademark battle, we could see both MetroCab and Nissan undercutting LTC's retail pricing. 
The battle has only just started to warm up, with other manufacturers waiting in the wings.

Two Court of Appeal judges ruled that the shape of a traditional London black cab is not distinctive, which has now opened the doors for other manufactures to pitch for a slice of the London Taxi market. 

Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Floyd upheld a ruling on Wednesday that was made last year by a High Court judge.

The London Taxi Company, wanted to claim an exclusive right to the shape. But n January 2016 Mr Justice Arnold ruled that the shape was not a "valid registered trade mark" after a High Court hearing in London. 
He said the shape lacked "distinctive character".

Two appeal court judges have now dismissed the taxi company's challenge to Mr Justice Arnold's ruling, following a Court of Appeal hearing in London in July.

Sharon Daboul, a specialist in trademark disputes at law firm EIP, said the ruling would clear the road for the launch of a similar-shaped "eco-friendly" taxi.

At present we are looking at three definites who will be entering the London Taxi zero emissions race ...LEVC, MetroCab and Nissan. Waiting in the wings are Toyota and this little beauty below from Turkish manufacturer Karsan. 

London Taxi from Karsan 


Anonymous said...

Good news. The metrocab was always a good taxi, some say the best ever made. Besides if Geely like Uber so much, they can get stuffed as far as I am concerned. £60k, they are just trying to mug us off.

Anonymous said...

regarding, not seeing things in the Trade Publications, could it be that, they also, are looking at 'The Bigger Picture' and just as Geely, are 'eyeing-up' the Private Hire market, so are they?

Anonymous said...

Looks like a large Fiat 500...which is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Great news, we may even end up with a vehicle that we actually want to buy, and at a price the market can realistically stand.

Thus far cab sales have been driven primarily by lobbying for compulsion from the regulator, distorting the market and inflating the price of cabs by twice the rate of inflation since the early 1970s.

Being forced to all drive the same vehicle has created the perception amongst many that we are a monopoly there to be broken, rather than a group self-employed sole traders who simply share the same qualification,just like any other profession.

Anonymous said...

Worth noting that the regulators like to spout on about monopolies and not having them, yet try to create a monopoly of vehicle supplier. This news is therefore good for us.

Anonymous said...

Should be sprayed black. And mini cabs should not be allowed to be black. In these times we need clear differences to not confuse the public. A good example is how Addison lees use a black fleet of vans or vehicles like the mercedes. This is essential that we should be only black and mini cabs to never be allowed to be black.

Anonymous said...

I agree taxis need to be clearly identifiable, however over-regulation by mediocre bureaucrats has got us where we are now. I would be reluctant to feed their sadistic instincts and let them bend us to their will even more and dictate one particular colour.

It's ok as long as we have vehicles that clearly and unambiguously look like a taxi, If you look at the old low loaders they tended to be blue, dark red or green, black is not the original 'traditional' colour.

I have a coloured TX but punters often walk down the rank past a row of Black Vitos despite my cab being being what some would consider the wrong colour. There's evidently more going on psychologically than simple colour identification when punters look for a cab. Colour may a specific problem for Vitos and other van conversions. Nissan twigged that when they redesigned their van conversion's front end, maybe Mercedes could consider doing the same.

Musher said...

Great, now where do we plug them in?

Anonymous said...

When Addison lee first appeared with their fiat people carriers ..... they were all black, ..... and guess what? All the other people carriers since have been black, It would take a dope of monumental proportions not to realise or comprehend who they were visibly trying to impersonate....Us!

I have never considered buying a van derived Taxi simply because of our completely unique world identifiable London Taxi brand...(remember the London Olympics closing ceremony?) A brand that is virtually priceless and a brand sought the world over for a considerable cost.

Driving a clearly Identifiable London Taxi has never been more crucial today simply because we hold exclusivity as a "Taxi" to be hailed on the street via our visual identity which is continually being chipped away by murky and underhanded tactics of private hire companies who know only too well the importance of world recognised branding like the one we have.

I have been constantly told by so many friends how well the Vito drives and performs but I will never relinquish the visual comprehensive right I hold as a London Taxi driver to Drive a purpose built Taxi on the streets of our city which is something private hire operatives cannot drive... unless we give up that legal stronghold by buying Vehicles they are allowed to drive...Vitos.

On a certain north London rank we have a couple of regular riders who require a route that uses Jacksons Lane....need I say more?

Think about it, If you do have that impulse to buy a new Taxi do the right thing and buy Black and buy a London taxi... because if you buy Vanity by choosing a shiny alternative colour you are adding to the growing dissolution of our trade which is under a huge self destruction of identity of a strong band of men and women who are turning into sheep who follow rather than a world leading branded trade and an identity point of proof... think prius... who comes to mind?

The Fx4R and others too many to name are long dead... The Fairway resurrected and saved this trade from an uncertain future as did the Tx1 and Metrobab ttt, ..but that only came about because of the launch of the Brand new Metrocab which was the very first Taxi manufactured to carry wheelchairs in London and the very first to carry 5 passengers in London ,and the very first to carry 6 passengers in London which made Lti take drastic action and the Tx1 was born.

Look through the smoke (an ironic pun) and mirrors to the future of our trade and choose wisely because it could become the last time a designated Taxi manufacturer enters our playground exclusively for us, and if they die off we will too... and our world wide brand will become history as will it be known as the strangest form of business suicide a city has known.... Dont become like Kodak did and who refused to accept hard drives would replace processed film, admittedly our technology has played catch-up but this is happening daily but identity is vital.

Buy a vehicle London private hire cannot buy or drive in London (unlike other UK towns or cities).... And Keep our Identities intact as we are Taxi drivers and the rest are lost in comparison.

Do the right thing!
Be Lucky

greenbadgejohn (on twitter)