On February 28, Geely rejected Changan Auto’s claim of intellectual property rights infringement following last week’s release of its new Galaxy model. Geely said that the new model, known as Galaxy Light, is an original design, and there has been no plagiarism or infringement of Changan’s IP rights.
Previously, Changan Auto instructed a law firm to send a legal letter to Geely, saying that the Galaxy Light prototype is similar to Changan Auto’s concept car and products. The Chongqing-based automaker said it suspects Geely of infringing on its IP.
However, Geely believes that the contents of the legal letter are seriously inaccurate, and the accusations against it are groundless. The Galaxy Light is based on the SEA platform, which inherits Geely’s unique “ripple aesthetics” and has an independent and uniquely designed concept system.
Geely unveiled the Galaxy brand on Febuary 23, with the prototype Galaxy Light and the first model Galaxy L7, a plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle. Chen Zheng made his first public appearance as Geely vice president of design at the press conference. He joined Geely in March 2022 after 20 years at Changan, where he was global design director and developed the now classic models such as the CS75 PLUS and UNI-T.
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The Galaxy Light and Changan Auto’s Deep Blue SL03, UNI-V show some similarities in their front, headlights and tail shapes, but whether the overall style, structure and curve details constitute plagiarism remains to be identified by law. According to Geely, the headlights of the Galaxy Light, which are suspected of being plagiarized, were inspired by the eaves found along traditional Chinese buildings.
Geely has high hopes for its Galaxy series, trying to attract consumers with a budget between 150,000 yuan ($21,734) to 300,000 yuan. Each product in the Galaxy series is expected to become the top three in China, and will cover 65% of the future new energy vehicle market with Geely’s own Geometry brand.
Prior to this lawsuit, the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro was targeted for scrutiny as being similar to Changan Auto’s CS75 PLUS, but Changan Auto did not resort to legal means for that case.
In order to enhance brand recognition, automobile companies will often develop their own unique design style. For example, BMW’s “twin kidney grille” can be traced back to the BMW 303 that was introduced in 1933. BYD’s “Dragon Face” has been widely used in its Dynasty series while the design style of Geely-backed Lynk & Co has its own unique features.
Sealand Securities’ research report shows that automobile appearance design is one of the important reference factors affecting a consumer’s decision to purchase a certain verhicle. Whether it is a sedan or SUV, appearance always scores highest in consumer impressions of a good purchase.
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