VW Group Wins Copyright Case On Beetle Design

The daughter of Erwin Komenda, who helped style the original Beetle, lost a copyright case against the VW Group in a German court.

Komenda’s daughter was seeking 5 million euros ($5.7 million) in compensation for the part of her father’s contribution in the design of the Beetle, AutoNews reports, with her claim limited to Beetles built since 2014 because of a statute of limitations.

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According to her claim, Beetle models built from 2014 onwards still featured elements of her father’s design, elements that were used in three generations of the model that sold over 22 million examples over more than 70 years in production.

After examining two drawings from 1934 that were allegedly created by Komenda, the court decided to deny any copyright claim on the original VW Beetle. The plaintiff was also unable to prove that her father participated in the styling of VW’s KdF model, the Beetle’s predecessor, which entered production in 1938 and was designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

“It was particularly important to note that at the time of making the drawings, there were already numerous designs that had anticipated the concept of the vehicle with a rear engine in a streamlined body with pulled-down bonnet and the merging into the hood pulled down tail (Tatra V570, Mercedes Type 130)”, the court said in a statement written in German.

Erwin Komenda worked with Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s, as well as for the Porsche company after the Second World War. He passed away in 1966.

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