Legal matters often take more time than expected. Despite being forbidden to exhibit the Karolino at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show and at its website on August 23, the decision was only published on August 26. In some countries, the publication is what makes a decision effective. This is probably why Artega took the Karolino out of its website only then and published an official statement on the case. The copy of the decision, on the other hand, took a little more days to reach our hands, but here we have it.
If you speak German, you can read it all in our gallery, but this is the page that interests us the most. It contains the decision itself, which is as follows:
“For right recognized:
I. In response to the applicant's immediate appeal, the decision of the Munich Regional Court I dated 01.07.2019, Ref. 33 0 7997/19, is amended as follows:
The defendants will be fined up to EUR 250,000.00 or – alternatively – up to six months in the case of a repeated infringement up to a total of two years in case of avoidance of a fine to be determined by the court for each case of infringement, and in the case of the defendant 1) is to be performed on the manager of the defendant to 1), in each case forbidden, even or by third parties, in business dealings in Germany to offer a L7e electric vehicle (regardless of the color) as shown below, to advertise, to hold, to distribute or to present at public fairs.”
Despite our Google translation, the decision is resounding. If Artega fails to comply with it, it can be fined in €250,000 or send Klaus Dieter Frers, its CEO, to jail.
"We are more than happy with the court's decision and relieved to have finally put that insanity to an end. Now it is on Artega to prove to us that they will follow the court’s order and won't exhibit the Karolino at the IAA," said Merlin Ouboter, CMO of Micro-Mobility, referring to Artega’s plans to present the quadricycle at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Artega has taken all pictures of the Karolino off of its website, as you can see at the screenshot above. The company has also released the statement below, which is slightly more conciliatory, even if still controversial:
“STATEMENT OF THE ARTEGA MANAGEMENT ON THE DECISION OF THE OLG MUNICH (AZ. 29 W 866/19)
In July 2019, the Munich Regional Court (LG München) in the first instance, in proceedings initiated by Micro Mobility Systems AG, rejected interim legal protection against Artega's advertising and marketing of the Karolino due to a lack of peculiarity and awareness of the Microlino. On 22 August 2019, the Munich Higher Regional Court surprisingly made a diametrically different decision in this interim legal protection proceeding and decided until the conclusion of later main proceedings that Artega may not advertise and market the Karolino if it looks like the pre-series version of the Microlino attacked by Micro.
From Artega's point of view, the decision of the Munich Higher Regional Court has no effect on the planned Karolino, since it will in any case – as always planned – deviate significantly from the pre-series design of the Microlino. Press releases, after the OLG decision corresponded to a ban on Karolino, therefore lack any basis, as does the conclusion that an IAA participation by Artega is not possible.
The legal dispute between the parties has its origin in 2016 sales regulations between Tecno Meccanica Imola Spa. (TMI, today a subsidiary of Artega GmbH) and Micro Mobility Systems AG for the development, production, and marketing of the Microlino. TMI has terminated the cartel and informed Micro and the Bundeskartellamt accordingly.
Artega is interested in continuing its cooperation with Micro to produce the Microlino and has submitted proposals to Micro. In view of the ongoing discussions, we would like to wait a little longer with further publications regarding our Karolino.”
The fact is that "cooperation" is very unlikely after things went so sour between Micro-Mobility and Artega. The latter probably bought TMI exclusively due to the Microlino production, but it may end up without it for good.
If not in a friendly way – which is what both parties claim to be searching now – at least through the main legal proceedings that also seek compensation from Artega for the alleged damages Micro-Mobility has suffered from the production delay and the legal dispute.
In light of the German court’s last decision, it may be a better business for Artega to settle things and create its own L7e vehicle with TMI. Especially if it will “deviate significantly from the pre-series design of the Microlino.”
If it had presented a totally different model at its website instead of the Microlino without the Micro-Mobility badge – as the old screenshot above proves – would the story have been different? What we know for sure is that it did not end here. At least not until the Microlino is finally put for sale.