Even The Big Boys Get It Wrong In China…
Things regularly go wrong at trade shows. The usual phone call we get is either just before or just as the first day of the trade show opens and lo and behold some copy product is launched to an unsuspecting public!
If you are doing this then do be aware that in some European countries, the law will CLOSE YOU DOWN and ask the questions later…France springs to mind. Two directors I know of spent an uncomfortable 2 nights in a German prison at the start of one trade show. Even in the UK it isn’t unheard of for lawyers to serve Court Orders at trade shows for either design right or trade mark infringement, and then have goods seized or removed from sale. However, in the UK we normally reserve prison only in the case of contempt of Court if you don’t comply with a Court Order.
Chinese Car Manufacturer Copies Range Rover Evoque…
Pity poor old Land Rover this week in China at the Guangzhou Motor Show, when a local car manufacturer launched a £14,000 copy of their prestigious Range Rover Evoque. The Evoque is sold in China at around £40,000 and is made by a Chinese Joint Venture company comprised of Jaguar Land Rover and Chinese company Chery. What is sad about this situation is that such copying can actually destroy jobs in China and this behaviour makes even the big companies think twice about expensive JV’s with local companies and serious investment in an emerging economy.
Whilst no doubt Jaguar Land Rover’s IP experts are now crawling over the details of the design of the car and will undertake serious analysis of what is an identical component and what is simply over borrowed, this isn’t the first time the manufacturers LandWind have copied a European car. A few years ago LandWind launched a copy Vauxhall Frontera. This model was briefly sold in Europe until crash test failures forced its withdrawal from sale in European countries.
In order to succeed in an action for design right infringement in China and through the local Courts, Land Rover will have to prove slavish copying of their design. This may deter them from taking action in China. Where there has been slavish copying the Chinese will close a factory down. However, I suspect LandWind have been too clever to get caught by that trap and have designed around any direct copy but have used the “look” of the Evoque to capture the bottom end of the car market in the Far East.
All of which goes to show that even the big names with all their resources can be copied in China. It’s a crying shame. It is far easier to copy than to innovate.
However, one thing the big companies will have in their favour is that they will have registered their brand as a trade mark. At the end of the day the LandWind car won’t ever have the Land Rover brand name on it, and its sales will be limited simply by virtue of the lack of brand awareness. Many smaller companies would much rather run the risk of design right infringement to boost sales instead of being caught out for trademark infringement.
There’s a lesson here. If you want to export ALWAYS register your trade mark first! Call Virtuoso Legal for help with Intellectual Property including infringement.