Jaguar Land Rover copycat lawsuit proceeds despite patent cancellation
By Jake Spring
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's cancellation of Jaguar Land Rover's patent on the Range Rover Evoque will not stop it from going after an alleged Chinese copycat in a separate unfair competition and copyright proceeding, a Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) spokesman said on Tuesday.
A source told Reuters earlier this month that JLR, owned by India's Tata Motors (TAMO.NS: Quote), was suing Chinese automaker Jiangling Motors 000550.SZ for allegedly copying the British firm's Range Rover Evoque. JLR at the time confirmed it had filed new legal actions against Jiangling.
"It's still the same situation," spokesman Andrew Marsh told Reuters on Tuesday. The action on copyright and unfair competition are separate from the patent proceedings, he said.
His comments come after a media report said JLR's copycat lawsuit against Jiangling could suffer a setback given both companies' patents had been canceled by Chinese authorities.
Public records on the website of China's patent re-examination board show the Evoque patent was ruled invalid in April because the design had been displayed or published elsewhere before a patent application was filed.
The board also ruled in May to invalidate the patent of the alleged copycat, Jiangling's Landwind X7, saying in the decision that it strongly resembled the Evoque.
Both automakers could still appeal the board's ruling on the patents' validity, said Chen Jihong, a Beijing-based intellectual property lawyer at Zhong Lun Law Firm.
Even if the patent remains invalid, JLR could argue separately that Jiangling is competing unfairly by confusing customers or that the Evoque's design is automatically protected under copyright law as a piece of music or other creative work would be, Chen said.
(Reporting by Jake Spring; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
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