No go for little Karo(lino) aka Microlino
The Microlino saga continues as the (cloned) cabin scooter presented by Artega at the IAA under the new name Karo, has now been explicitly banned by interim injunction, following two previous injunctions.
In Munich, a court decision ruled that Artega’s version of the super-small BEV, shortened to Karo, also violates the previous injunction stating that the vehicle may no longer be advertised and therefore not be presented at the IAA – which it was.
According to the latest decision by the Landgericht München (Munich regional court) on the 25 September (Ref. 33 O 13280/19), Artega is prohibited “from offering, advertising, displaying, distributing or presenting to the public at trade fairs an L7e electric vehicle (regardless of its colour) in the course of business in Germany, either itself or through third parties, as illustrated below”. The resolution then specifically depicts the vehicle exhibited at the IAA with a number of images. The amount set for violating the first injuction forbidding Artega from showing the vehicle was set by the court at 250,000 euros. Whether Artega will have to pay this amount fine for violating the last interim injunction in August is still under investigation.
The background to this dispute is as follows: Back in 2015, the Swiss Ouboter family who owns Micro-Mobility started the development of the Microlino, an electric cabin scooter. The small battery-electric vehicle was supposed to be built by the Italian company TMI on behalf of Micro Mobility. The start of series production was repeatedly delayed, partly due to quality problems.
In the meantime, the German company Artega had taken over the Italian contract manufacturer TMI and was supposed to push ahead with Microlino production. However, Artega boss Klaus Dieter Frers had other plans: In May 2019, he announced the launch of the Karolino under the Artega brand. The quasi-clone of the Microlino had allegedly been improved in over 150 points and was to be presented at the IAA.
Two lawsuits were then filed by the Ouboter family, one was a temporary injunction to prevent the Karolino from being shown and advertised; the other concerned financial claims that Artega had violated the contract between the two companies.
Despite the above injunctions, Artega still presented the “Karo, originally intended to be called Karolino” in a press release at the IAA. Although the Karo was not illustrated anywhere on the event website, the vehicle – now specifically depicted in the second round of legal documents – was indeed publically displayed at the IAA. Whether Artega now has to pay the 250,000 fine for violating the old injunction of August is still pending, but one would assume that they will have to do so.
So far, Artega has not presented their side of the dispute in public statements, but can also assume that the display of the vehicle already under interim injunction at the IAA is probably not going to please the courts.
Source: copies of court documents via email