Yeah, neither could the Beijing Chaoyang District Court, which ruled that Jiangling Motors' Landwind X7 SUV from 2014 was a bit too evocative of Jaguar Land Rover's Range Rover Evoque and ordered the Chinese company to pay compensation.
The ruling refers to the Landwind X7 from 2014, which had the same roofline and tapering windows as the Evoque, and nearly identical taillights and character lines on the side paneling. JLR said the similarities led to widespread customer confusion.
Landwind can continue selling a recently facelifted model that toned down some of the similarities, JLR said.
JLR's 2014 lawsuit was a rare legal victory by a foreign automaker against Chinese copycats. Western automakers have been frustrated by Chinese brands imitating their designs, but suing them can take years and backfire on the brand if Chinese consumers think a foreign company is bullying domestic competitors.
"The ruling is highly significant," said Michael Dunne, CEO of Hong Kong-based automotive consultant firm ZoZo Go. "For years, foreign companies have taken Chinese rivals to court for purloining designs and lost. GM, Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, you name it."
At certain times, he said, Chinese leaders will allow a high-profile foreign "win" in order to gain international support.
Landwind doesn't break down sales by model, but industry observers estimated the X7 accounted for the bulk of the brand's 80,000 sales in 2016 at the height of its popularity. It's priced at about a third of what an Evoque costs in China.