A Beijing court has ordered BMW China to compensate a leading rocket designer 90,000 yuan (14,300 U.S. dollars) for the unauthorized use of a rocket image in a car advertisement.
The verdict issued by the Beijing Fengtai District Court on Monday said the car maker violated the rules of fair play and rendered economic losses on the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALV).
In November, CALV, designer and developer of the Long March rocket family, sued BMW China for using the image of a Long March 2F rocket in an ad without permission.
The advertisement, printed on Vista, a Chinese-language magazine, depicted a BMW car accompanied by images of a rocket, children, and women playing music.
The academy said it owned the trademark of the rocket image and accused the car company of using it to promote car products without authorization.
BMW China, on its defense, said the image was public property, and that the company had no intention to borrow fame from the rocket given the success of the BMW brand.
The Long March 2F, or CZ-2F, is the rocket designed to launch Shenzhou spacecrafts. The unmanned Shenzhou-8, which completed a historic docking with the space lab Tiangong-1 in November, was mounted on the modified CZ-2F.
BMW China has not said whether it would appeal the case.