General Motors (GM) Daewoo is suing the Chinese car manufacturer, Chery Automobile Company, for allegedly copying the design of one of its vehicles.
GM Daewoo is seeking 80 million yuan (US$9.6 million) in compensation.
GM Daewoo contends that Chery's QQ is a copy of GM Daewoo's Spark, a model based on its Matiz.
Chery denies this saying it developed QQ independently.
GM Daewoo initiated proceedings last December at the Shanghai No.2 Intermediate People's Court.
However, Chery contested the proceedings on jurisdiction grounds. The Supreme People's Court therefore appointed the Beijing-based court to handle the case, sources in the press office of the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court told China Daily yesterday.
According to the indictment, GM Daewoo's Matiz went on sale in South Korea market in 1998.
In 2003, GM Daewoo authorized the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation to produce and sell the Matiz, renamed Spark for the Chinese market, on the Chinese mainland.
GM Daewoo claims that the Chery QQ is uncannily similar to the Spark in terms of body structure, exterior and interior design, and key components.
Gm Daewoo also claims that Chery used a camouflaged Matiz to pass tests in order to acquire authorization from the government for the production and sale of QQ.
GM Daewoo alleges unfair competition on the part of Chery.
A press official surnamed Zhang at Chery headquarters in east China's Anhui Province told Beijing Youth Daily that they had not been told of any developments regarding the lawsuit, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
However, sources with the Chinese automaker insisted that Chery does its own design and development.
At an intellectual property press conference held last September, Zhang Zhigang, vice-minister of commerce, said Chery's alleged infringement and unfair competitive behavior could neither be determined according to Chinese law nor by the evidence provided by GM Daewoo.
Speaking at the same press conference, Zhang Qin, vice-director of the State Intellectual Property Office, said that GM Daewoo failed to apply for a patent on its designs in China and therefore did not have protection under Chinese law.
Zhang Qin also said that for GM Daewoo's allegations of infringement to succeed, they must prove that Chery actually stole information from them.
(China Daily May 9, 2005)