A three-year-long court battle has finally drawn to an end between Jaguar Land Rover Corporate (“Land Rover”) and Jiangling Holdings. Co., ltd (“Jiangling”). Beijing Chaoyang District Court ruled that five major features of the Lufeng X7 built by Jiangling in China had directly copied the design of Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, causing confusion among consumers and ordered Jiangling to stop production, sales and marketing of the concerned vehicles immediately, and eliminate the impact and compensate Jaguar Land Rover company for economic losses and reasonable expenses totaling RMB 1.5 million.
This long-lasting dispute between Land Rover and Jiangling can be traced all the way back to five years ago, and generally can be divided into two main parts: patent invalidation (blue part) and lawsuit on Infringements (black part), which can be illustrated in the following timeline:
What the dispute between Land Rover & Jiangling tells on IPR protection in China
- Car companies should manage patent right in a proper way.
In this case, Land Rover publicly exhibited the design of the “Range Aurora” model at the Guangzhou International Auto Show held in December 2010, but submitted the design patent application in November 2011, which was separated by nearly one year, exceeding the six-month grace period stipulated in Article 24 of Patent Law. The delayed application caused the model to lose its patent protection and the difficulty during the subsequent right of protection.
Since the design patent does not require substantive examination, the unstable effectiveness of the automobile design patent becomes a challenge for protection of vehicle design. As one of the core competitiveness for automobile enterprises, vehicle design usually contains tremendous business value. Therefore, it is critical for automobile enterprises to establish prudent internal patent management mechanism and prevent competitors from stealing creative designs.
- Protect the IP rights from various perspective.
With regard to the same behavior of Jiangling, Land Rover chose to defend its rights from the perspective of copyright and unfair competition after the non-feasibility of the design patent rights protection road. Land Rover disclosed the protection of the unique decoration rights of well-known commodities. Those who are in the past cannot be embarrassed, and those who come can still chase. Enterprises must pay full attention to intellectual property rights, scientific layout, effective use, and active protection in order to get a bigger cake in the market.
3 The TM infringement in the automotive industry is expected to change.
As Keith Benjamin, head of Legal Affairs at Land Rover, said, the foreign companies represented the sentence, which would further increase their confidence in the Chinese court’s ruling on intellectual property. The innovative action of Chinese court reflects the equal protection of intellectual property rights between international and domestic enterprises. The court decision also demonstrates China’s determination to strengthen intellectual property protection. The impact of Land Rover v. Jiangling in the field of automobile intellectual property will continue, and may even trigger a new round of rights protection in the auto industry. Jaguar Land Rover’s victory may be just the beginning.
The analysis of the above case has been reported on the basis of the public material available, D&P did not have access to the legal documents related to the case. D’Andrea & Partners will continuously keep you updated on the IPR new cases: for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org