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Piaggio loses Chinese copycat case


Italian motorcycle and scooter company Piaggio has lost a landmark battle with Chinese scooter manufacturer Zhejiang Zhongneng over copycat designs.

The case began in 2014 and has just been concluded with Piaggio over their Vespa LX scooter which has been around since the end of World War II.

China didn’t decided the winner, either. It was the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

They ruled that the designs were significantly different and Zhejiang had not stolen any intellectual property.

Click here to read the ruling

It’s a strategically important case to have lost, given the current trade wars and political rhetoric over China.

And it’s a good win for China on the even of its 70th anniversary.

Piaggio loses Chinese copycat case
Piaggio (left) and Zhejiang (right)

Other Chinese copycats

Perhaps Piaggio didn’t have a case with this model. There are probably many others they could have pursued with more success.

But there have been many other examples of blatant copycat ripoffs such as this BMW G 310 GS knockoff from Chinese company Everest.

Everest Kaiyue 400X knockoff
Everest Kaiyue 400X

The Vietnamese are also in on the knockoff act with “Ducati” Monsters made by Quang Phuong Motor.

Trademark action

We are surprised that companies such as BMW and Ducati have not filed intellectual copyright breaches.

Honda and Yamaha have tried to fight Chinese manufacturers in the courts over breach of copyright.

However, it is a long process as there are hundreds of knockoff manufacturers.

Italian company Lambretta has also taken “strict” action against several companies for “free riding on the repute of Lambretta”.

They claim the global market is flooded with replicas of their classic scooters from China, India and Thailand.

The Chinese seem immune to international trade laws that bind other countries and their latest blatant ripoff is an electric Honda Goldwing.

We all know the Chinese make cheap copies of well-known brands and many of us probably have a Gucci belt made of plastic in a sweatshop in China.

However, they have also made a lot of copies of bigger and more expensive products such as cars.

Some of the cars these manufacturers have copied include the Range Rover Evoque, Smart ForTwo, Hummer, Porsche Cayman, Audi A6, Jeep Cherokee, BMW X1, Rolls-Royce Phantom and MINI Cooper.

Land Wind knockoff of the land Rover Evoque
Land Wind knockoff of the land Rover Evoque

Some car manufacturers tried to stop them copying their cars, but failed in an obstructive and partisan legal system, so they formed alliances with Chinese companies to make their products for the local market.

Like the car makers, Honda has formed an allegiance with one of the knockoff companies in China to make their bikes for the local market.