Formula 1 Racetrack Will Fight Nissan’s Use of Eau Rouge

A Belgian racetrack will contest an application by carmaker Nissan Motor Co.’s Infiniti brand to trademark “Eau Rouge,” one of Formula One auto racing’s most famous turns.

Nissan is seeking the trademark for Infiniti’s Q50 Eau Rouge prototype, which may cost as much as $100,000 if produced. Pierre-Alain Thibaut, director of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, said it will challenge the application.

“It’s like they want to steal the brand from the circuit,” Thibaut said in a phone interview. “We consider it exactly the opposite of fair play.”

Stefann Weinmann, an Infiniti spokesman in Hong Kong, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on the objection. Kyle Bazemore, a U.S.-based spokesman for Infiniti, didn’t return a call and e-mail.

Weinmann said Aug. 22 that Infiniti is testing components for the car and hasn’t made a final decision on whether to produce the so-called super sedan, or on its name.

Eau Rouge, or Red Water, is a sweeping uphill part of the circuit that is “arguably the most famous corner” in all Formula One, the series website said in a 2010 article. It takes its name from a stream that crosses the circuit through the Ardennes forest.

The circuit, which dates back to the 1920s, is owned by the regional Wallonian government.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said in a filing on its website that it will publish the application on Nov. 4, opening a 30-day period for complaints.

Nissan also sought the “Eau Rouge” trademark in Japan, Thibaut said. In April, the circuit obtained a European Union trademark for the name.

Infiniti plans a demonstration by Formula One drivers of the Q50 Eau Rouge on Oct. 29 in Austin, Texas, before the U.S. Grand Prix, according to a news release.

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