Jaguar Land Rover’s Intellectual Property Remains Unprotected by Chinese Law

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the midlands-based car manufacturer, vowed to take legal action after a Chinese competitor – LandWind – released designs for a car model that shared a striking resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque.

However, Ralf Speth – JLR’s Chief Executive – has admitted that his company might not be able to take legal action due to the limits of Chinese laws.

At a media briefing this week, which took place as part of Auto Shanghai (one of China’s largest motor shows), Mr Speth said: “There are no laws to protect us.

“In Europe, we can be protected against this kind of copy-paste in the design language, in the features but also the technology.

“You can’t be protected in China.”

As part of a joint venture with Chery, JLR’s first Chinese car factory opened near Shanghai in November 2014, with 2,000 new jobs also created as a result.

Although Mr Speth has highlighted the fact that there is limited scope for what can be done to protect JLR’s intellectual property in China, he also argued that such cases could damage the country’s international reputation as a place to operate a company on fair business terms.

LandWind’s X7 model is expected to launch in summer 2015 with a starting price of £16,200, which compares favourably to the Chinese-made Evoque’s starting price of £48,424.

Other large car manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Mini, Lexus, Toyota and Volkswagen have all been affected by instances of intellectual property infringement in China.

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Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex.