BMW fined for Chinese rocket image in ad

December 24th, 2011 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Dec 24 (IANS) Luxury carmaker BMW China has been ordered to stop using the image of a Chinese rocket in one of its ads and pay a fine of 90,000 yuan ($14,200) in compensation to the manufacturer of the rocket.

Fengtai District People’s Court in Beijing heard that BMW used the image of the Long March 2F rocket in an ad to gain a competitive edge, leading to the perception that the carmaker had consent from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the manufacturer of the rocket.

The ad could also mislead people into thinking that there was cooperation between the academy and the carmaker, which would be unfair competition and impair the interests of the academy, the Shanghai Daily reported Saturday.

It’s not known if BMW China will appeal the ruling. The carmaker will issue a statement regarding the lawsuit in a few days, said Jackie Wang of BMW China’s corporate affairs department.

The academy took the German-based carmaker to court last month, accusing it of using the popularity of the Long March rocket to draw the attention of consumers to its products, which the academy said was unfair competition.

The academy had asked the company to withdraw the ad and pay a compensate of 100,000 yuan for the economic losses.

The academy showed the court an advertisement published in Vista, a Chinese-language magazine. The ad features a BMW car accompanied by images, which included a rocket, children and women playing Chinese musical instruments.

BMW argued the rocket photo was considered public property and that it utilized it properly to show the development of technology.

BMW didn’t need to use the image to boost its brand awareness because it already has high recognition, the automaker argued in court.

Further, it said that because the academy is not in the same industry, there could be no unfair competition.

The Long March 2F was designed to launch heavy payloads into orbit such as last month’s Shenzhou spacecraft which docked with the Tiangong-1 space lab.

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