Beijing Estek Technology, a Chinese company involved in semiconductor production according to Datasheets.com, has failed in its attempt to patent the classic Mini design, Carscoops reported. The denial was issued after the owner of the classic Mini's design, BMW, objected to the application.
China’s State Intellectual Property Office made the decision. It has previously ruled in favor of other Western automakers whose patented designs were infringed upon by domestic Chinese companies—but not always. Automakers in China have made copies of the Ford Bronco and C1 Corvette, to name a few. One even created a miniature version of the Toyota Tundra that is, and I'm not joking, called the "Tundar."
Chinese State Intellectual Property Office
Chinese car publication AutoHome also reported the news, although it provides little information about Beijing Estek Technology or the content of BMW's complaint. BMW, for those who don't know, acquired MINI in 1996 as a part of its acquisition of the Rover group. The classic Mini was produced in some form from 1959 until October 2000. As a result, BMW owns the design.
Beijing Estek Technology allegedly planned to revive the car as an EV with a front-mounted electric motor, although the details are so sketchy that I might as well have been the one to apply for the patent. The images contained in the patent appear to be doctored photographs of an actual Mini as opposed to a digital drawing which would be more typical in American and European patents.
The Chinese company has three months to appeal the decision before the matter is formally settled.
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