A China-based carmaker has been denied permission to produce its electric car after its design was found to be quite similar to BMW’s Classic MINI model. The carmaker Beijing Estek Technology, which also manufactures semiconductors, has lost its appeal to patent the design after German auto giant BMW raised objections. China’s State Intellectual Property Office has denied the company to patent the design after deliberating for over a year. BMW had filed its objection with the authority last year soon after finding the patent images.
The model, which was supposed to be an electric car, is eerily similar to the Classic MINI model manufactured between 1961 and 2001. The images shared by Chinese media like Car News China or Autohome shows the hatchback-styled model with similar shape and features of a MINI model. It has concealed door hinges, similar grille, exposed fuel filler cap, lights and even the rear license plate light. According to reports, the fuel filler cap was probably redesigned to house the electric car’s charging port. The EV was supposed to come with an electric motor and front-wheel drive option.
While the Chinese authority has scrapped the EV maker’s patent appeal, the carmaker has been given three months to reply in case it chooses to challenge the decision.
It is not new, and probably not the last time, that a Chinese company has found itself in the middle of a controversy for copying design of models manufactured by others. Earlier, cars and two-wheelers produced by local Chinese auto manufacturers have ripped off designs from popular models. For instance, Great Wall Motor’s Ora hatchback is also another rip-off based on Volkswagen’s classic Beetle. A more recent example is the Chery Jetour T-X Concept SUV, which appears like a blend between a Ford Bronco and a Land Rover Defender. Not only design of cars, Chinese companies have also been called out for copying websites and presentation of other companies too. XPeng, a widely popular EV brand from China, was recently alleged of ‘copying’ Tesla website look and feel,
First Published Date: 10 Feb 2023, 12:57 PM IST