You'd think a company's name and logo were among the standard items of any business buying up the assets of a bankrupt firm, but in the case of Fisker Automotive's long-running saga, that doesn't seem to apply.
Whoever buys the company and its assets may not have access to the Fisker brand name, nor its logo. That's because neither is actually part of the Fisker Automotive group, instead held by a separate company, Fisker Coachbuild LLC.
Delaware Online reports on a statement made by Fisker Coachbuild, that neither Fisker's debtors nor the proposed buyers have had any contact with the company over the rights to the Fisker name--and will bar their use if that use is not applied for and granted via written consent.
Fisker Coachbuild was set up by company founder Henrik Fisker back in 2005, at the time converting existing vehicles, like the BMW 6-Series, into specially-modified vehicles. In 2008 the newly-formed Fisker Automotive set up a contract with Fisker Coachbuild, licensing the rights to use the Fisker name. That contract was set up and signed by Henrik Fisker himself and Bernhard Koehler, another Fisker co-founder. It stipulates that Fisker Coachbuild owns the rights to use the Fisker name on cars and their components, as well as clothing and other merchandise.
Fisker Coachbuild's statement does say it is likely the company will consent to the logo's use, though it also remains to be seen whether Fisker Automotive's buyers decide to use that name in the first place. Two companies are still expressing an interest in buying the electric car startup--Hybrid Tech Holdings, LLC, and the American arm of Chinese firm Wanxiang, Wanxiang America, Inc. A U.S. bankruptcy judge previously rejected a bid for Fisker by Hybrid Technology, instead putting the firm up for auction and inviting bids from Wanxiang--a situation Fisker itself was hoping to avoid, citing Wanxiang as a cause of its bankruptcy.