China has had its fair share of 'copycat' designs over the years. There was the Shuanghuan SCEO (BMW X5 copy), the Chery QQ (Chevrolet Spark clone), and more recently, the Land Wind X7 (Range Rover Evoque doppelganger). BMW tried suing Shuanghuan for 'copying' the look of their popular crossover but lost the case. General Motors also lost when they tried suing Chery for the QQ's design.
As for the case of Land Rover versus Land Wind, however, the result was different. In what seems to be a first in Chinese courts, the government sided with Land Rover, who filed a case against Land Wind, more specifically, JMC (makers of Land Wind vehicles), for copying the Evoque. Land Rover had this to say:
“We welcome this decision of the Beijing court, which further strengthens our confidence in investing in China and in the fairness of intellectual property adjudication in the Chinese courts. This ruling is a clear sign of the law being implemented appropriately to protect consumers and uphold their rights so that they are not confused or misled, whilst protecting business investment in design and innovation,” said Jaguar Land Rover's legal head, Keith Benjamin.
As Land Rover has won the landmark case, the Chinese courts have ordered Land Wind to immediately cease production of the X7. On top of that, Land Wind has also been ordered to pay Land Rover compensation for legal fees. It's a particular big deal as this case could likely change the way China designs their cars.
With China now becoming one of the biggest economic markets, it seems that they are now more keen to keep foreign investors happy. By the looks of things, China wants to be more diplomatic towards outside entities if the latter want to continue running their businesses there. With China also becoming one of the largest automotive markets out there, this move could help them score more good points to other car manufacturers. Cleaning up this 'copycat' image could also prompt other automakers to invest more in China, seeing that they are trying to get rid of this problem.
This case could also evoke similar action from other automakers. After all, there are still some of them out there such as the Zotye SR9.