Range Rover win legal case over Chinese copycat car company
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Jaguar Land Rover has won what has been described as a 'significant' case in the Chinese courts against a company that produced a copy of one of its models.
The British firm said the Beijing Chaoyang District Court had decreed that the Range Rover Evoque had five unique features copied in a model called the Landwind X7, built by the Jiangling Motor Corporation.
Since the rise of the Chinese vehicle-making industry after the turn of the century, the nation's home brands have been accused of creating copycat vehicles that are almost like-for-like duplicates of popular models sold in Europe.
However, local law has traditionally protected these Chinese brands in legal disputes - until now.
In previous copyright cases against Chinese brands, courts have backed home manufacturers and claimed their designs are different enough to legally pass as their own models.
This has made it increasingly difficult for mainstream makers of the original models to win legal cases and put a stop to the practice.
This week's ruling could set a new precedent for European makers after the court ruled in favour of Jaguar Land Rover following a three-year-long legal tussle.
JLR argued that the X7 was too similar to its own Evoque - a claim that's difficult to refute when you compare the vehicles side by side.
However, there is one huge difference - the price.
While the Evoque retails for around $80,000 in China, its doppelganger has been on sale since 2015 for half as much - around $40,000.
Pictured: The Landwind X ... wait, no, this is the Range Rover
As a result of the verdict, all sales, manufacturing and marketing of the Landwind vehicle are to cease immediately and JLR must also be financially compensated.
Keith Benjamin, Jaguar Land Rover's global head of legal, said: "We welcome this decision of the Beijing court, which further strengthens our confidence in investing in China and in the fairness of intellectual property adjudication in the Chinese courts.
"This ruling is a clear sign of the law being implemented appropriately to protect consumers and uphold their rights so that they are not confused or misled, whilst protecting business investment in design and innovation."
Ahh yes, this one's the Landwind X7
JLR said it was the first case of its kind to support a foreign company in the car industry.
When the car maker first launched the legal cases against the Chinese company, boss Ralf Speth had claimed that JLR and other car manufacturers were 'powerless' to stop these firms from ripping off their vehicle designs.
"China, from my point of view has enough creativity and engineering power to do something on their own and doesn't have to fall back to the time when copying was of interest," Speth told Autocar India in an interview in 2016.
"We can’t do anything. I hope the Chinese customer at the end of the day sees the difference and selects the real product and not a copied one.
"We hope they generate a self-regulation process so that they can get rid of this kind of copy-paste way of working."
The latest generation of the Range Rover Evoque was launched last November. You can read our first drive report on the vehicle here.
- Daily Mail