Latest US Export To China: Crazy Border-Spanning Lawsuits

from the the-long-arm-of-the-law dept

What is it about people who think that if someone simply says something you don’t like, you can just sue them? It’s certainly not limited to the US, of course. David Weinberger points us to the odd story of a German blogger who is being sued in China for a short blog post from last year, where the blogger noted the similarities between a German and a Chinese designed bus, suggesting that the Chinese bus company had copied the German design. The blogger certainly wasn’t the first to make the connection. German newspapers had discussed the amazing similarities between the two buses (click on the link and you can see the photos of the buses side by side). However, the company that makes the Chinese truck is suing the German blogger, claiming his post, which simply had a single line about the speed with which the Chinese firm supposedly copied the German design, hurt their sales. It’s difficult to see how there could be any actual connection between the blog post and sales — and the images certainly make a pretty strong case that the blogger wasn’t making things up when suggesting that the Chinese firm got its… inspiration from the German design. However, in an age where anything you don’t like needs to be settled in court, apparently that’s what happens.

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Comments on “Latest US Export To China: Crazy Border-Spanning Lawsuits”

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Enrico Suarve says:

Adverts for buses

Not at all the busses are clearly different – ones darker blue than the other and the headlights are a different shape

Perhaps this is more of a publicity stunt?

“Our sales are shitty – everyone is buying the other bus but no one seems to have heard of us or that we’re cheaper. Let’s sue the guy who spotted the copy so more buyers spot it too”

MrPaladin says:


There is no way that these two bus designs are not interlinked…. for the two busses to have just happened to turn out that way would be the same probability that walking blindfolded int oa strange library you pick ‘the lion the with and the wardrobe’ off a shelf…

now assuming the blog has any validity to it, they arnt suing over the facts, they are sueing over their supposed effective sale because of the facts…

I’m sorry, if the facts hurt your sales, your company and product are doomed after the hype your marketing did wears off…

Shane says:

But what is the real effect here?

Perhaps this was covered in the German comments after the article, but what does Zhongweis hope to achieve by doing this?

If Iven & Hillman does not operate in China, what can a Chinese court impose on a German company? Are there any treaties in place that would grant the Chinese court the ability to enforce its rule in Germany?

If they do operate in China, well, this is just a consideration of operating in a foreign country, and would realistically have nothing to do with the fact that the medium was a blog.

Stop crying says:

Stop Crying, do something

I found it is amused that people kept talking about trade deficits with China, (trade deficits are used politicians on purpose, that are different stories). Why do you stop crying and do something ? Small Chinese mom and pop shops can sell their shoes, socks, toys to USA, why cannot we sell our stuff to China ? Does this country still make something ? (or we do not). We all heard that China has lot of money, let sell some of our things to them. I have not seen any politician do anything on this (other than their own interests, and press China to raise its currency, that is very stupid, but I will not talk about it in this thread). One thing I noticed that there are many business try to help China small business to export to USA, for example, Alibaba,, and many others. I do not know many America business which helps USA small business to export to China, only one I know is I guess we have to do better than this.
If we cannot beat mom and pop shops in China, there is no hope for this country.

Ron Aron Hillmann / Autoregional (user link) says:


Prekär die Situation. Eventuell Neuland für die Juristen in Deutschland und auch Blogger, die sich wie ich auf hier vorherrschende Reglementarien im Äußerungsrecht und angewandter Pressefreiheit berufen wollen.

Schlussendlich entschuldige ich mich bei den Chinesen für eine Wertung auf, die den chinesischen Nationalstolz verletzen könnte und die Errungenschaften der chinesischen Automobilindustrie im weltweiten Expansionsprozess in der deutschen Presse zum Tagesthema werden lässt.

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