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Volkswagen sued by an Indian for copyright infringement

04, Dec 2009 By Tantanoo

Kolkata. Nitin Das was running a flourishing chain of automobile repair workshops under the name of ‘Das Auto’ when he saw the new Volkswagen commercial on the national television. Infuriated at his brand name being used as Volkswagen’s tagline, without his prior permission, he decided to take legal action against the automobile company. In a press conference later in the evening, his lawyer announced that they’ve filed a copyright violation case against Volkswagen India.

A signboard outside one of the repair shops of Nitin Das
A signboard outside one of the repair shops of Nitin Das

Eyewitnesses report that Mr. Das was seen shouting “Ee na cholbe ee na cholbe” from his balcony, a popular bengali war cry from the superhit movie Tiranga. “I have never seen Nitin da like this”, says their neighbor Chobi Biswas “He even removed his t-shirt and waved it while shouting slogans against Bolksbhagen”.

Volkswagen, in a curt reply to the whole fiasco, has said that it was investigating the ‘alleged’ copyright violations. It is also speculated that they have hired experts from Max Muller Bhawan, Kolkata to draft an explanation of the tagline.

Mr. Das has however demanded an unconditional apology and has asked for immediate removal of all Volkswagen advertisements across all the mediums. Though judging from the fact that Volkswagen has already spent a mammoth amount on the recent advertisement campaign, which includes hefty coverage in the Crimes of India, a compromise cannot be ruled out.

The tagline “Das Auto” was introduced in 2007, replacing Lawyer K.C. Chaudhary who is handling Mr. Das’s case, has said that they are not averse to an out-of-court settlement. This settlement is supposed to include exclusive servicing rights for Volkswagen’s cars to be given to Das Auto.

“But future course of action will depend on Volkswagen’s reply.” Mr. Chaudhary says, adding that an apology was a must.

The issue has now got a political flavor with the CPM calling a Bengal Bandh on the 31st of November to support Nitin Das against.

It is yet to be seen whether Mr. Das’s perseverance can force an international automobile giant to bend, but this brave move has gained Mr. Das a lot of respect. His neighbors are pouring in with eggrolls and fish curry to show their support and his business is on a roll too, much to the chagrin of his competitors.

“What’s in a name”, Shakespeare once wrote. Nitin Das might soon find out.

(written by a very lonely person called Tantanoo)