Washington-based partners CMSI and Khurana issued a press release this month outlining the problems facing the “New Lambretta” and their internal rivalry:
CMSI, Inc. and its partners KG of Seattle, WA reached an impasse late in 2005 in their discussions concerning how to proceed on the Lambretta project. CMSI and KG are currently working to resolve this impasse and if needed, will submit to binding arbitration to resolve it as outlined in their agreement.
However, CMSI had already determined independently of KG , that the trademark Lambretta had been substantially compromised in many countries and was therefore not available for use in worldwide branding. Without clear branding rights, worldwide marketing and sales of the new scooter was in doubt and would make the sales needed for amortization of tooling costs impossible to clarify and achieve. This ambiguity and conflict was pointed out to KG and SIL many times but no resolution was forthcoming.
In addition, CMSI’s trademark counsel has advised it that several other users of the trade name Lambretta in their legal business names and/or their products related to motorcycles and scooters, have been in use for decades or longer and that due to the fact that SIL has not sold new scooters into the US market for the last five years, has probably resulted in abandonment of that trade name in the U.S. Because there are substantial royalties associated with licensing the trade name from SIL, these unresolved issues made the economic value of the name questionable, even in the USA market alone.
CMSI has substantial investments and commitments in this new scooter project and cannot sit by and do nothing. It is for the above reasons that CMSI has decided to move forward with the SCOMADI project. The new website will be completed soon and details and progress will be posted there periodically.
So, in short, not only has very little happened with the scooter itself since last spring, they appear to be abandoning the name and calling it “Scomadi.”
This comes as no surprise, it was clear to any observer from the beginning that this thing was going to be expensive and needed to be a worldwide project, and it was also clear that the Lambretta trademark was going to be a problem even if they did somehow have the US rights. Phil McCaleb of Scooterworks learned from Piaggio/Vespa to never take an international trademark for granted, and Lambretta clothing, who appears to be in the process of invading America is no stranger to litigation.
More interestingly, while we’ve been following this story fairly closely, this memo was the first mention we noticed that Khurana was involved. While CMSI’s reputation has been on the relative upswing since their Ural and Costco days, thanks to TNG’s commitment to quality and service, we here at 2sb have never really heard anything nice said about Khurana’s Scooters of Seattle. Scooters of Seattle call themselves an “independent dealer” of Vespas (mostly the asian variety, and Piaggio should have something to say about their use of the Vespa logo) currently claim to be authorized dealers of Peugeot and Italjet, neither of which is being officially imported into the USA at the moment (or ever, in Peugeot’s case). Anyway, learn more about what is now being called the “Scomadi” (if SCOMO doesn’t sue them first) at scomadi.com, when they finish the site. We loved the prototype, and aside from some details (it needed signals and a bigger gas tank) we’d love to see it on the road under any name, even though it’s well outside our budget.
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