Nissan threatens legal action over Vote Leave copyright abuse

Nissan has joined fellow Japanese car manufacturer Toyota in threatening to take legal action against the Vote Leave campaign, after it emerged its logo had been used in anti-EU campaign material.

A spokesman reportedly told the Financial Times: “We are extremely disappointed to have discovered that the Vote Leave campaign has been using the Nissan name and logo in their literature and on their website without our permission.

“We vigorously protect the Nissan brand and intellectual property in all markets in which we operate. We have requested that any further use of our intellectual property rights be discontinued – a request that has so far been denied. As such we are considering the appropriate action to be taken.”

In a statement released on its website yesterday, Toyota said: “It has come to our attention that the Vote Leave official election communication contains Toyota’s logos and trademarks and could mislead the reader into thinking that Toyota endorses the Vote Leave campaign.

“We offer no such endorsement and further we are considering a formal legal complaint at this unauthorised use of our trademarks, which infringes our rights as the owners of the Toyota brand.”

Like Toyota, Nissan builds a large number of cars in the UK – including more than 500,000 a year at its Sunderland plant. Around 8,000 workers are employed by Nissan in the North East, so any breakdown in trade agreements could lead to an employment crisis if the firm pulled out of UK car production.

The Nissan spokesman added: “To be clear, we are not supporting any political campaign regarding this most serious of issues. This is a matter for the people of the UK to decide.”

Previously, Vauxhall boss Rory Harvey has the firm ‘absolutely’ has a position on Brexit – and that position is that the UK should remain in the EU.