A new television advertisement for mobile phone company Orange and technology company Intel has caused uproar for its use of a supersonic car which is reminiscent of two vehicles designed by the UK's Richard Noble OBE, including the new Bloodhoud SSC.
The advert (see video below), which was broadcast for the first time last week, featured a supersonic car which allegedly looks very similar in style to the Thrust Supersonic Car (see bottom video) which broke the sound barrier in the 1990s. Moreover, the dark blue and orange colour combination used on the vehicle in the ad has been likened to the colours used on the new Bloodhound SSC car which is aiming to break the 1000MPH speed barrier. There is also an alleged likeness between the Orange and Intel advertisement and an early promotional video created for the Bloodhound Project in 2009 (see video below).
However, Richard Noble has told the BBC that despite the alleged likeness, no permission was given for the use of what he sees as his intellectual property. “We were absolutely gobsmacked when we saw the ad,” said Richard Noble, explaining that he had already received hundreds of messages of congratulations from all over the world. “People assumed we were getting paid for it,” he said.
The primary concern for Noble is that the current Bloodhound project is funded by donations from the public, coupled with money from sponsors. He is concerned that if this ad is not deemed to have breached his copyright it could put future sponsorship opportunities at risk. “If this is allowed to proceed,” Noble told the BBC, “then these big companies will think they don’t need to go to the expense of sponsoring. They can just take what they want.”
The Bloodhound team has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority, but the the regulator has dismissed the claim as it does not deal with intellectual property disputes. Mr Noble is now in discussions with his lawyers.
The new Orange and Intel ad which has been accused of copying the design of Richard Noble’s Thrust SSC Vehicle.
A promotional video for the Bloodhound Supersonic Car.
The video of the Thrust SSC in action.