A pair of Chinese firms has been ordered to pay BMW 3 million yuan (Rs 2.9 Cr) by a court in Shanghai for registering similar trademarks to those used by the German auto giant.
One of the accused firms, Zhou Lequin, registered Deugo Baoma Group (Int'l) Holdings, which translates as German BMW Group (Int'l) Holdings, in China in 2008. The copycat firm also registered a trademark ‘BMW' with a logo which is identical to that used by the German marque.
The same logo was sold on numerous clothing products including shoes and handbags by a local fashion company called Chuangjia. Over the years, this firm also changed their logo to more closely resemble that of BMW.
The court also said the accused infringed BMW's trademark registered in China by taking advantage of its reputation.
This is not the first time that the German marque has been targeted by Chinese copycats. Earlier, a local carmaker BYD has used a logo featuring the same colours and design. However, the Shanghai court does not involve BYD in the hearing.
Recently, China's highest court ruled in favour of basketball star Michael Jordan in a long-running trademark case. A local sportswear company used the Chinese version of his name, overturning earlier rulings against the athlete.
Also, British luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is currently involved in a similar legal battle with a Chinese manufacturer LandWind. The local firm launched a new car model called X7, an SUV which looks exactly the same as Range Rover Evoque.
The decision made by the Shanghai court is a big win for foreign brands in China. Now, it is clear that courts in China are starting to take trademark infringement more seriously in a country where you can find replicas and copies of every product.
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