The company announced, via a statement sent out to media outlets, that it had "filed a lawsuit [against Henrik Fisker] in the state of California to protect its valuable trade marks, designs and intellectual property rights".
In to the legal complaint submitted by Aston Martin to the courts, the company claims that Fisker's Thunderbolt car illegally used Aston Martin's "distinctive 'S-curve' grille and side vent design, which both have been used for 50+ years and are the subject of federal trademark registrations as well as strong common law trademark and trade dress rights".
It also features a wing logo that the company believes is too similar to its own.
According to the filing, Fisker approached Aston Martin about Project Thunderbolt back in November 2014, with a view to displaying the resultant car at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show. Aston Martin declined to participate and refused to give its assent to the project in its proposed form.
Ultimately, Fisker displayed his Thunderbolt design study at the March 2015 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida, noting that it wasn't an officially sanctioned Aston Martin endeavour.
The company also claims that Fisker is using "illegal 'bait and switch' marketing tactics" to sell the Thunderbolt via the Galpin Aston Martin dealership in California, as "the vehicle Fisker actually intends to sell [top] is a different car entirely (which also infringes Aston Martin’s proprietary rights)".
Furthermore, Aston Martin claims that "Fisker has even gone so far as to intentionally and willfully induce a long-time Aston Martin
dealer into participating in his scheme, thereby causing the dealer to breach its dealer’s agreement with Aston Martin to sell and promote only genuine Aston Martin vehicles and to not use Aston Martin’s trademarks to sell non-Aston Martin automobiles".
Fisker was employed by Aston Martin between 2001 and 2004, and served time as the company's design director.