Big Win for the Big Cats: Chinese Car Copycats lose out to Jaguar Land Rover

May 17, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Jaguar Land Rover wins a landmark case against a Chinese company that copied its Evoque car model.

What does this mean?

Near the end of March, after a three-year legal battle, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) was able to find a ruling that the JMC Landwind X7 was a direct copy of JLR’s Evoque model.

The courts ruled that there were five specific features that were directly copied. The Chinese model also retailed for £26,000 less than the Evoque, becoming a more attractive alternative for consumers, while misleading them through the similar design.

JMC has been ordered to stop production of the car immediately and pay compensation to Jaguar.

JLR’s Head of Legal Keith Benjamin issued a statement saying that the decision “further strengthens our confidence in investing in China and in the fairness of intellectual property adjudication in the Chinese courts.” He said that the ruling “is a clear sign of the law being implemented appropriately”. Benjamin also recognised that the outcome protects consumers and ensures that they will not be misled, but also protects the business’ investment in design and innovation.

What's the big picture effect?

This is a landmark ruling which could provide the catalyst for more IP claims. Western car firms have long complained about other Chinese copycat cars, without finding a reliable legal remedy. For example, Porsche was potentially considering legal action in 2016 against a Chinese firm for copying its Macan model. This case could provide a renewed impetus to continue with IP legal challenges, and see the introduction of more claims from other Western car manufacturers.

This case may also prove a deterrent for Chinese car manufacturers who are currently copying Western car designs, or who were planning to, that they are not able to avoid legal proceedings for their actions.

The case was decided in the Beijing Chaoyang District Court. This is the first outcome in the Chinese courts in support of a foreign car company. So as China demonstrates that it can protect intellectual property rights, will we now see new types of foreign investment move towards the country?

Report written by Harina C

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