David and Goliath Tiny Toy Maker Sues Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s legal troubles seem to know no end and now a small family-owned toy maker is taking on the auto giant in court over licensing fees.
Quelle: Pressebild
Hoping against hope that they can meet an agreement with VW.
(Source: Pressebild)

Manager Lothar Rietze’s dream of a golden retirement after years of hard work has been postponed indefinitely.

Mr. Rietze, 65, founded his eponymous model car company more than 30 years ago. He has long wanted to step down and let his 38-year old son Christian take over.

But Mr. Rietze senior is busier than ever before as he tries to process car makers’ countless requirements and high licensing costs. It's par for the course: the Rietzes – like many of their rivals in the industry – have locked horns with the automobile giants for years.

On Thursday, the father and son will head to a Hamburg court to take on Volkswagen.

They want to overturn a preliminary injunction granted to auto giant Volkswagen barring their company from making and selling some Golf models. “We’re fighting for our survival,” as Mr. Rietze senior put it.

His business is based in rural Bavaria, has 70 employees and just €2.6 million ($2.8 million) in sales, and it is in crisis after losing €800,000 in potential revenue and €80,000 in legal fees over the dispute.

But he is still hopeful – after all, the company cooperates with VW’s truck making subsidiary MAN just fine.