China's rocket maker has accused BMW China of using the image of a Long March rocket in an advertisement without authorization.
The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, designer and manufacturer of the Long March rocket family, told a Beijing court yesterday that BMW used the well-known rocket to promote their products, according to a China Network Television report.
The academy accused the car maker of using the popularity of the Long March rocket to draw the attention of consumers to its products, which the academy said was unfair competition.
The academy was calling for the company to cease its intellectual property infringement and compensate it for economic losses of 100,000 yuan (US$15,738).
The academy showed the court an advertisement published in Chinese-language Vista Magazine. The ad features a BMW car accompanied by images which included a rocket, children, and women playing Chinese musical instruments.
The academy said the rocket was a CZ-2F Type Long March rocket that it had designed and manufactured.
BMW denied there was any intellectual property infringement and told the court that the image was used only to show the rapid development of technology.
The company claimed that the use of the picture had not caused any economic loss to the academy.
It said that as the academy was not in the same industry there could be no unfair competition.
The court did not rule yesterday to allow the two sides to mediate.
A conclusion to the case would be made public before the end of the year, officials said.
In a statement sent to Shanghai Daily last night, BMW said: "All the marketing materials BMW uses in China are in line with domestic laws and regulations."
It added that the company would "respect the court's final ruling."