With decision issued on March 13, 2019, Beijing Chaoyang District Court ordered Jiangling Motors Corporation (“Jiangling”) and Land Wind Corporation (“Land Wind”) to cease the production, sales and marketing of its X7 model cars and compensate 1.5 million yuan for damages and reasonable expenses of Jaguar Land Rover Corporate (“Land Rover”) in the unfair competition case.
The decision represents a milestone in the protection for western automakers since none has ever won an anti-unfair competition case in China before. The case obviously hits the news. Let's have a deeper sight of what really happened.
Despite the present case is decided on the base of Art 6.1 of Anti-unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China, both parties have filed a design patent for their respective models.
Land Rover applied a design patent for “Evoque” model cars on December 2011, against which Jiangling filed invalidation. Patent Re-examination Board of SIPO made invalidation decision unfavorable to Land Rover for lack of novelty of the design: the “Evoque” was exhibited in a date before the filing.
Jiangling filed a design patent for “Land Wind X7” model cars on December 6, 2013. Patent Re-examination Board of SIPO found the design patent invalid for having no distinctive difference from the combination of such designs. Beijing High Court made final decision in favor of Patent Re-examination Board of SIPO and dismissed the claim of Jiangling.
Land Wind X7 vs Evoque
Therefore, both parties cannot claim a protection under Patent Law (Design). Looking deeper into the reasoning of the Beijing Chaoyang District Court we read that
“The relevant public can link the shape and structure used by the "Evoque" model car to Jaguar Land Rover's specific model car products due to the long-term publicity and use, with function to identify the source of goods”.
The appearance of "Evoque" model car possess the requirement of “decoration with certain influence” provided on Art 6.1 of Anti-unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China.
The shape and decoration of Jiangling's “Land Wind X7” car and the “Evoque” car are similar in term of overall visual effect including suspended roof, push-down roof, raised feature lines, engine cover, vehicle outline. Therefore the Court deemed that “Land Wind X7” of Jianglin used the decoration of “Evoque”. Such use results in the confusion and misleading to the related public for “Land WindX7” and “Evoque”.
In conclusion, the court made decision that the conduct of Jiangling violates Art 6.1 of Anti-unfair Competition Law of the People's Republic of China, which constitutes where the business operator uses, without authorization, logos are similar to others' product decoration that has certain influence, causes the confusion to the market and infringes the legal interests and commercial reputation of Land Rover.
However, Jiangling can appeal to Beijing IP court if it is dissatisfied with the decision. Let’s continue to pay attention to follow-up development of this dispute.