BMW did not allow the Chinese to produce clones of the classic Mini car. Back in the spring of last year, Beijing Estech Technology Co. patented in China the design of a new model, suspiciously similar to the classic Mini Mark I. Even though the cars have more differences than it seems at first glance, the novelty of the Chinese auto industry was referred to as the “Mini clone”.
And it was only a matter of time before BMW, which currently owns the MINI brand, entered the scene. The Bavarian lawyers were really interested in the patent images and, having studied them, came to the conclusion that this was still plagiarism.
According to the Chinese portal AutoHome, BMW has achieved the cancellation of a patent application filed by Beijing Estech Technology Co. It turned out that the Bavarian company filed a petition to annul the document just a few weeks after its publication. And just the other day, the Chinese patent office really canceled the patent – a note about this appeared in the database, and BMW was indicated as the applicant. Now Beijing Estech Technology Co. will either have to change the design of their car, or completely abandon this model.
The “Chinese Mini” is a three-door hatchback with a retro design. It’s larger than the original, with differently shaped bumpers, a different shape of the exterior mirrors, a lower bonnet line, and a charging port hidden behind the fuel filler cap – because it’s an electric car. However, there are also exact design citates: round headlights, elongated taillights and round turn signals, exactly like the Mini from the 60s.
Beijing Estech Technology Co. is not the first Chinese company to take inspiration from MINI design. One of the most striking examples is the Lifan Smily, which does not look like a very successful parody of the British hatchback. Lifan itself does not recognize borrowing, calling its car “excellent annotations of new classicism.”