Kraftwerk sues company over ‘Kraftwerk’ charger

Kraftwerk co-founder Ralf Hütter is suing electronics manufacturer eZelleron for trademark infringement after naming its new portable power charger ‘Kraftwerk’.

The company successfully funded the fuel-cell based product on Kickstarter, raising over $1.5 million (£1 million) for its creation with the help of 11,000 backers. The power unit is said to recharge mobile phones, GoPro cameras and tablets in a matter of seconds, and be able to supply power for weeks.

The website for the charging unit says the product creates “a whole new dimension in independence for your smartphone or tablet. Kraftwerk is a power plant: unlike a traditional charger, it generates electricity rather than merely storing it”.

Hütter owns a extensive trademark registration on “Kraftwerk” including visual data and optical data in the area of music entertainment. He and his lawyer are asking online providers and those reporting on the campaign to remove all references to the Kraftwerk product.

The complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware states, as posted on The Hollywood Reporter explains: “[the] Defendant is taking advance orders for the Kraftwerk charging device. Therefore, consumers are likely to assume that there is a connection, association, or relationship between the famous electronic music band and a charger for portable musical-playing devices.”

eZelleron is based in Dresden, Germany, however the case is being fought in Delaware as the company is incorporated there.

The German word “Kraftwerk” translates as “power station”, which means the name could be seen as descriptive rather than linking solely to the electro-pop band.

Hütter is fighting for compensation for damages as well as “any and all the domain name registrations owned or controlled by [eZelleron] containing the term KRAFTWERK”, specifically referring to the main website for the portable charger which uses the domain “hellokraftwerk”.

Feature image by sarahdlx via Flickr