Oh The Irony: Chinese Automaker Suing Mercedes For Trademark Violation

Lawsuit

The hypocrisy meter is high with this one because Chery has copied other automakers' designs before.

In a shocking twist of fate and hypocrisy, Chinese automaker Chery, known for using ripped-off designs from established automakers for some of its own cars like many Chinese automakers do, is suing Mercedes-Benz in Chinese court for trademark infringement, according to Reuters. The Chinese government is notoriously relaxed when it comes to its own companies plagiarizing designs from other automakers, but this time the tables are turned.

It was considered a long-awaited step forward when Jaguar Land Rover filed a lawsuit against Jiangling Motor for copying the Land Rover Evoque to build it’s Land Wind X7. Unfortunately, JRL is fighting a losing battle due to Jiangling Motor’s home court advantage, but as a foreign company, Mercedes may not be so lucky. To be fair, Chery has a valid claim against Mercedes. The lawsuit concerns Mercedes’ new EQ brand of electric cars, which has a very similar name to a small car Chery sells called the eQ. Chery's eQ is a four-door battery electric car that has been sold in China for two years. It’s likely a happy coincidence that Mercedes decided to use the same name for its own line of electric cars.

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However, there’s no doubt that crossing names would hurt the Chinese automaker a few years down the line when the Tri-Star gets serious about its EQ line. In a country that strongly encourages electric vehicle purchases, there’s no doubt that the smaller automaker would lose out, especially when considering what the EQ brand will offer compared to the small Chinese car. The very name EQ is Mercedes’ play on the term “IQ,” intended to mean “Electric Intelligence.” With cars packed full of technology and blessed with the ability to drive themselves using only electric power, Mercedes’ EQ will be the car of choice compared to the eQ, which offers 57 horsepower and only 120 miles of range for the bargain price of $9,600.

The EQ name is fitting for Mercedes although not as sexy as the i moniker that BMW uses for its own sub brand. If Chery wins the lawsuit, Mercedes will have to scramble to find a way to change the name, even if the alteration is only made to Chinese market vehicles. To be fair to Chery, this isn’t the first time Mercedes has debuted a vehicle bearing a similar name to a competitor, just look to the AMG GT R for proof of that.

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