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Mercedes may face copyright infringement with EQ

Chinese maker Chery has been marketing eQ electric car for three years

Published: March 27, 2017, 9:30 PM
Updated: March 31, 2017, 2:01 AM

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ concept

Daimler’s plans to market its upcoming line of electric vehicles under the EQ banner may have to be rethought, now that Chinese maker Chery has filed a copyright-infringement claim.

It may be upheld only in China, but that’s destined to be perhaps the biggest market for automobiles in the near future, and likely also to be one of the top global markets for electric vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled a close-to-production electric wagon at the Paris Motor Show last fall, calling it the Concept EQ and announcing that its future product brand would be EQ (which reportedly stands for electric intelligence … like IQ, only with an E, for electric?).

The brand would be more than just a vehicle model, though, encompassing all things related to the electric mobility ecosystem — products, services, technologies and innovations, including vehicles, charging units, charging services and even energy storage at home.

Chery eQ

However, the figurehead of the brand — the vehicle EQ — would be a utility vehicle produced by 2020.

That’s the part Chery Automobile has a problem with, since it has been marketing an eQ (a dedicated electric minicar 4-door, 4-seat hatchback with a 22.3-kWh lithium-ion battery, a 42.5-kW motor and a range of 200 km) since 2014, and has sold about 3,000 units since then.

Chery filed the complaint with China’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which could result in Mercedes’ not being able to use the designation on a vehicle. Or the decision could escalate to go so far as to prevent the German company from using the designation on any new venture, including the establishment of an electric vehicle production facility in the country.

Daimler has yet to comment on the matter.