Bolt scooter needs another namecheck

Usain Bolt (AP)
Usain Bolt (AP)

Paris - Retired sprint superstar Usain Bolt's attempt to lend his famous name to an electric scooter has hit the skids - another company is already using the name in Paris, it emerged on Thursday.

The firm won a French court order seen by AFP to prevent the multiple Olympic champion from using its Bolt tag for Bolt Mobility, the US company the athlete represents.

No sooner had Bolt on Wednesday announced plans to have 450 scooters emblazoned with his name deployed on the streets of Paris over the coming days than the court banned the move.

The ruling said Bolt was not allowed to promote or provide transport services after the rival firm took the matter to court.

"We have been using the name Bolt since we launched our electric scooters in Paris in September 2018 and we carried out a 'rebranding' on a global scale last March. Our brand is protected in all our markets and in 54 countries" in all, a spokesperson said.

"Bolt Mobility is an American enterprise and we do not intend to establish ourselves in the United States. We therefore invite Bolt Mobility to clarify this situation which is liable to sow confusion among our clients and users in France," the French Bolt spokesperson said.

Bolt's attempted entry into the market had already come at a delicate time after Paris authorities warned operators of the thousands of electric scooters that have inundated the city to keep them off pavements or face a temporary ban.

On Monday, the ten competitors who have launched services in Paris all signed a "code of good conduct" with the mayor's office, which says the city is now "saturated" with some 15 000 of devices.

That is forecast to grow to some 40,000 by year-end.

Those flouting the rules face €135 fines for traffic violations or 35 euros for illegal parking.

Bolt, 32, had denied he was too late out of the blocks, saying his brand had worked with the Paris authorities.

"We took our time to do the right thing and talk to authorities and get everything right to be sure that when we launch everything is perfect," said the 32-year-old Jamaican 100 metres and 200m world record holder of Bolt Mobility, which he had co-founded.

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