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18 May 2020
On 18 March 2020 the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) invalidated Daimler's Design Patent 201430032306.6 regarding the new Mercedes-Benz Smart generation following a validity challenge by Shandong Lichi, a Chinese new energy vehicle company.
The CNIPA held that the two designs in the patent at issue (ie, 2015 Smart Fortwo and 2016 Smart Forfour) had no obvious difference to the prior designs, which had been published in news media (Figure 1).
In 2012, before the priority date of the design patent at issue (ie, 21 August 2013), the popular media platform TenCent reported on the development of the new Smart model, indicating that the German auto giant Daimler was going to launch the third generation of Smart in 2014, alongside the profiles of Smart Fortwo and Smart Forfour. However, Daimler did not file the relevant patent applications claiming its priority in China until 2014.
Daimler is not the only automobile company whose patents have been invalidated due to advance publicity. In 2016 the CNIPA deemed Landrover Evoque's design patents invalid as the company had unveiled Evoque at an automobile exhibition before filing for the design patent.
For further information on this topic please contact Feng (Janet) Zheng at Wanhuida Intellectual Property's Beijing office by telephone (+86 10 6892 1000) or email (email@example.com). Alternatively, please contact Wenting Liu at Wanhuida Intellectual Property's Shenzhen office by telephone (+86 755 8276 2920) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Wanhuida Intellectual Property website can be accessed at www.wanhuida.com.
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