A New Chapter in the Dispute Between Micro and Artega – Artega Will Use All Legal Means to Defend Itself Against the Latest Ruling of the Munich Regional Court

  • Micro surprisingly obtains a temporary injunction against the electric city vehicle Artega Karo
  • Continuing restraint of trade by the Swiss competitor Micro
  • Undeterred, Artega is proceeding with preparations for the series production of the cult vehicle after a successful presentation at the IAA and is assessing changes to its design

Delbrück, Germany, October 02, 2019 – In a very surprising ruling, the Munich Regional Court has issued a temporary injunction against Artega’s new electric city vehicle in response to a petition by Micro Mobility Systems AG (Küsnacht, Switzerland) without providing any justification. Until further notice, Artega may not market the version of the Karo recently presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. Artega will use all legal means to defend itself against this preliminary ruling so that it will be able to supply its customers as soon as possible. Preparations are proceeding for the series production of the Isetta-style electric urban speedster Karo regardless of whether the series design might be adjusted once again.

“We cannot comprehend the preliminary ruling of the Regional Court. What’s also odd is that the injunction was reported in the media last Friday but was only communicated to us today. In the preliminary proceedings, the same court had found back in July that the Microlino has essentially adopted characteristics of the 1950s-era Isetta and does not display any so-called competitive originality that is worthy of protection,” says Klaus Dieter Frers, Managing Director of Artega.

In August, the Munich Higher Regional Court (HRC) then preliminarily granted competitive originality to the Microlino in a yet unresolved proceeding without hearing new arguments from the opposing side. Artega regards this decision as erroneous, but it carefully analyzed the wording of the HRC and altered the design of the Karo so that it has very clearly departed from the appearance of the Microlino. Visually, the Karo has moved much closer to the Isetta model than the more modern Microlino and looks completely different from the side and rear, which was met with a very positive response by industry visitors at the IAA.

Micro reacted to the tremendous reception at Artega’s trade fair booth by appealing to the courts once again to prevent the imminent success of the unwelcome competitor. This represents a continuation of what began in the spring of this year, when Micro had to recognize that the cooperation agreement between the Italian company TMI Spa. (now: Artega International Srl.) and Micro Mobility Systems AG, which was concluded in 2016 for the development and marketing of the Microlino, includes various clauses that are invalid from an antitrust point of view. Artega International is the sole developer and producer of the Microlino, whereas Micro has not contributed nor has been able to contribute any technical development work of its own.

“Acting in a high-handed manner, Micro had contractually secured exclusive sales rights for itself from TMI that are incompatible with European antitrust legislation,” explains Klaus Dieter Frers. He maintains that, given the nullification of the invalid clauses, Artega International automatically has the same European sales rights to the results of development, to which both contractual parties are jointly entitled according to the 50:50 cost sharing. Artega International has ended the cooperation and notified the responsible competition authorities in various European countries as well as the EU Commission about this.

When Micro learned in November 2018 that Artega GmbH had acquired TMI, Artega was viewed as the “white knight to the rescue” after more than two years of development without a finished vehicle. Original quote of Wim Ouboter, CEO of Micro, at that time: “You can see that pros are at work there!”

Only when the owners of Micro realized that they had made serious legal errors in drafting the contract with TMI did the tide turn against Artega. An unprecedented social media smear campaign began with “fake news” and the fomenting of conspiracy theories. Doubt was suddenly cast on Artega’s much greater technical expertise. Defects with pre-series vehicles, which stemmed from the time before the acquisition by Artega, were falsely blamed on Artega and misused as an argument for why the start of delivery was being delayed. Actually, Micro had made promises to its customers that were completely unrealistic.

The campaign against Artega peaked with the accusation that Artega had allegedly already reserved the domain “karolino.ch” in November 2018, thereby even before the purchase of TMI. The Artega Karo was originally supposed to enter the market under the name Karolino. Micro saw in this the proof that Artega had intended from the beginning to steal the Microlino from Micro. Actually, Artega was able to clearly demonstrate in the HRC proceeding that it had only reserved the domain in April 2019; the earlier reservation came in reality from a Swiss used car dealer. However, Micro never retracted the false charge publicly so that on the internet the accusation of intentional property theft has stuck.

“The purpose of this character assassination campaign is clear: from now on Artega is a competitor, which should be prevented even by improper means from taking customers from Micro,” says Klaus Frers. According to its own statements, Micro wants to switch to another supplier, which in Artega’s view will be able to deliver only in a year and a half. “Micro wants to shorten Artega’s time advantage. For them, this end justifies any means,” continues Frers.

“A transparent calculation is hiding behind the mask of the nice model family from Switzerland, which had a great idea and now has supposedly been betrayed by an ugly German industrialist,” elaborates a discouraged Frers. “Once one knows that drafts from both sides exist for an agreement to end the dispute and these drafts differ only marginally, it becomes clear to everyone what game is being played here. Micro wants to maneuver itself into a better position for the ongoing negotiations.”

Given the legal situation, Micro requires Artega’s consent if Micro wants to engage an alternative supplier. “With the current proceeding, Micro went a step too far and is placing a possible timely agreement in jeopardy,” states Frers. “Without any concessions by Micro, we will take legal steps that prohibit the marketing of Microlino from another source because that would violate Artega’s rights to the design. Nevertheless, the door is still open for an agreement.”


STATEMENT FROM THE MANAGEMENT OF ARTEGA ON THE DECISION OF THE MUNICH HIGHER REGIONAL COURT (AZ. 29 W 866/19)

In July 2019, in the first instance of proceedings initiated by Micro Mobility Systems AG, the Munich Regional Court outright rejected the temporary legal protection against the advertisement and marketing of the Karolino by Artega due to insufficient originality and lacking brand awareness of the Microlino. The Munich Higher Regional Court surprisingly made a diametrically opposed decision on this temporary legal protection process on August 22, 2019, and gave the judgment that, until the end of later principal proceedings, Artega may not advertise or market the Karolino, as long as it resembles the pre-series version of the Microlino from Micro.

From Artega’s point of view, the decision of the Munich Higher Regional Court has no effect on the planned Karolino, as it – as has always been planned – will significantly deviate from the pre-series design of the Microlino. Press releases claiming that the HRC decision would be equivalent to a ban on the Karolino are therefore completely unfounded, as is the conclusion that it would be impossible for Artega to take part in the IAA.

The legal debate between the parties has its origin in the 2016 cooperation agreement between Tecno Meccanica Imola Spa. (TMI, now a subsidiary of Artega GmbH) and Micro Mobility Systems AG for the development, production and marketing of the Microlino, which infringed on antitrust distribution law. TMI ended the cooperation and informed both Micro and the German Federal Cartel Office.

Artega is interested in continuing the cooperation with Micro to produce the Microlino, and it has presented Micro with a corresponding proposal. Considering the ongoing discussion, we would like to wait a bit longer on further publications regarding our Karolino.



About Artega GmbH

Artega GmbH is a German manufacturer of electric sports cars based in Delbrück. Artega constantly keeps one goal in sight: the intelligent mobility of the future.

The company’s story began with the Artega GT, a German sports car of which 153 units have been produced and which has found consistent acclaim among specialist circles and car lovers from the start. With its current project, the Scalo sports car, the company is creating a new chapter in electromobility. One of the first drivable prototypes of this car will also be presented at the IAA in September.

The company is owned by the Frers family and led by Managing Director Klaus Dieter Frers, who has worked in the automotive supplier industry for over 30 years. Klaus Dieter Frers is the great-great-great-grandson of the inventor of the electric car, Christopher Becker. In 1835, Becker developed a vehicle driven by an electric motor which is recognized today as the first step towards the electric car. Artega carries this tradition forward.

The Artega Scalo Superelletra

About Artega  

According to leading market research institute GfK, Artega is perceived as high quality, of special design and with sporting performance. 

These characteristics are fundamental to Artega's designs, which result from the passionate team of inspirational design engineers who have mastered the art of sports car manufacturing.  Their customers demand excellent driving dynamics, exclusivity and "something special".  In Artega they receive that exclusivity combined with state-of-the-art technology. 

The story began in 2009 with the original Artega sports car.  A completely new two-seater GT, powered by VW V6 petrol-engine, featuring beautiful lines and dramatic proportions.  It won awards for comfort, precise handling and driving pleasure.  With its timeless design the Artega GT in on the way becoming a classic. 

CEO of Artega, Klaus Frers is the great, great, great grandson of electric vehicle inventor, Christopher Becker, who developed the very first electric vehicle as long ago as 1835.  It is consistent, therefore, that Artega has chosen to develop the electric car theme even further. 

In 2015 an electric version of the Artega GT was showcased, powered by two rear-mounted high power electric engines.  Its name was Scalo, after a winning Westphalian stallion with the same name.  This concept car sowed the seed for a further developed model, with much more power, greater performance and even greater range. The target range was 500km. 

Pursuing the electric power route Artega has dispensed with petroleum engines and wants to promote the switch to electromobility also in the arena of super sports cars. Consequently, Artega has now sold the know-how, the production facilities, and tools for the Artega GT to US company Saleen, which will build the vehicle with a different engines in China under its own brand. 

The focus of Artega is now on producing an exclusive car that embodies great looks, stunning performance, luxury and practicality, for customers with a unique lifestyle. The target is to become the alternative German super sports car maker, offering high performance cars for everyday use, with a car at the very top of its market segment. 

With an established skilled workforce in Delbrück (Germany), an international network of experienced suppliers and significant funding from the sale of the GT-assets, Artega will launch the Scalo Superelletra into an enriched world of sports cars. 

Welcome Scalo Superelletra, styled by renowned Italian design house, Touring Superleggara. The name "Superelletra" is a play of words - the Italian words for superlight (superleggera) and electric (elettrico).

Pure formula-feeling in three-seater
Artega Scalo Superelletra

  • Ultimate driving experience – Cockpit encloses the centric sitting driver
  • Innovation – Novel displays looking like rear mirrors
  • High Tech – Latest generation curved OLED touch displays
  • Ergonomics – Suitability for daily use by easy entry and exit

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