Please, read Gino's account of the case, because I do not propose to write it all again. I do not enjoy typing enough for that. Initially I found it encouraging: here, at last, was a court taking a sensible view of what the designation "specialist" might be taken to mean in a situation such as this. At first instance, the specialist, Mr van den Berg, had succeeded. Calling yourself a specialist with reference to someone else's trade mark does not imply a special connection with the owner of the trade mark. He seemed to have done enough to avoid confusion in the marketplace. But on appeal the trade mark owner won: the court, as in previous cases (different courts), held (if I may paraphrase) that calling yourself a Porsche specialist amounted to holding yourself out as an official dealer. As it was once explained to me: a manufacturer's official dealers are specialists, and they are independent. (On the other hand, I will always remember Trevor Finn at a Motor Law conference some years ago alluding to the fact that Wilberforce and he came from the same town, and likening the manufacturer-dealer relationship to slavery.)
Now, I think there are some important differences between different parts of the market. In the mass-market sector, it might be fair enough to say that holding yourself out as a Ford specialist might confuse customers. (OK, I know confusion is not the test here, but it is a reasonable way to look at the impact of the proviso.) Owners of such cars have a different sort of approach to all things to do with motoring than those of specialist cars. My point is that the owner of a Porsche motor car might reasonably be thought to be enough of an enthusiast to understand the nature of the trader with whom he or she proposed to do business. To a petrolhead, the expression "specialist" has a meaning quite distinct from "dealer" or "authorised repairer", and the courts should recognise that the relevant public is not a single body of people but several different groups.
Mr van den Berg was described as great Porsche lover. He might think otherwise now.