China has long had no more than a passing relationship with international copyright law. Lawsuits against Chinese companies that have obviously copied a Western design are frequently simply thrown out.
But times are changing, and a court in Shanghai has ruled in favor of BMW in a case against two Chinese companies that registered trademarks very similar to its own, Reuters reports, citing the Shanghai Daily.
In its ruling, the Shanghai Intellectual Property Court said a certain Zhou Legin had registered the company Deguo Baoma Group (Int’l) Holdings Limited in China back in 2008. That name translates as German BMW Group (Int’l) Holdings Limited.
Through the company, Zhou then bought and registered the trademark “BMN”, and a logo similar to BMW’s iconic black and white “propeller” badge.
The BMN trademark was then used by fashion house Chuangjia on clothes, shoes, and bags. The logo went through a number of changes, as well, such that it more closely resembled BMW’s.
The court said that Zhou, Deguo Baoma, and Chuangjia has infringed BMW’s trademarks in China and took advantage of its reputation.
The defendants have been ordered to pay compensation of 3 million yuan ($431,738) to BMW. None of them have passed comment.
Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover launched a lawsuit against Chinese automaker Jiangling Motor whose Land Wind X7 SUV, that was launched in late 2014, is a blatant rip-off of the Range Rover Evoque. And U.S. Marshals raided a number of booths at SEMA, suspecting the Chinese occupiers of selling counterfeit versions of American products.
BMW itself is no stranger to China's culture of fakery, either. Back in 2007, Shuanghuan launched its CEO SUV, an obvious copy of the first-generation X5. In that case, a lawsuit against the CEO's maker failed. And an extremely bad Mini clone was launched by Lifan in 2008, as well.