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Land Rover sues Chinese firm for copying Evoque

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New Delhi: Jaguar Land Rover is suing Chinese automaker Jiangling Motor over the latter’s Landwind X7 sport utility vehicle.

Every automaker steals design inspiration from the others, to one degree or another – just look at the Aston Martin-aping Ford Fusion. But it’s the egregious attitude – responsible for all this garbage – that drives us mad. In this case, Land Rover’s officially fighting back against China’s blatant copyright infringement.

Jaguar Land Rover is suing Chinese automaker Jiangling Motor for allegedly copying the British firm’s Range Rover Evoque, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said—a rare move by a foreign automaker to fight copycats in the world’s biggest autos market.

Jaguar Land Rover is filing suit against the outfit responsible for the LandWind X7. A JLR spokesman told Reuters a Beijing court “served Jiangling Motor with newly filed actions surrounding copyright and unfair competition.” In other words, JLR’s suit alleges that the LandWind X7 is a Xerox of the Range Rover Evoque. Yep.

It looks like a forgery, and not a particularly convincing one. The hood, badging, headlights, mirrors, side grilles, and rear-bumper design look like they could have been plucked directly from the Evoque’s assembly line.

Despite widespread and often blatant copying, global automakers generally don’t take legal action in China as they feel the odds of winning against local firms are low. Also, a lawsuit can be bad for branding if the Chinese public think a foreign company is bullying domestic competitors.

But more than a simple case of copyright infringement, Land Rover’s suit is worth watching because it could give hope to other automakers that have been subject to Chinese copycats, like Ford, Volkswagen, Cadillac, BMW/Mini, and others. As Reuters explains, despite wide-spread copyright infringement, western automakers find the odds of overcoming the home-field advantage enjoyed by Chinese automakers in local courts too low. There’s also concern that opposing domestic automakers too vigorously could hurt sales to Chinese drivers.

JLR’s case, then, could serve as a litmus test for future legal action against Chinese copycatters. We can’t wait to see how it plays out.

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