Geely sues EV rival WM Motor in China’s first IP legal battle between gasoline and EV forces

WM’s two co-founders and CFO used to work for Geely.

Provided by WM PR

Chinese automaker Geely is suing Shanghai-based electric vehicle maker WM Motor in the country’s first intellectual property (IP) legal battle between a traditional carmaker and an EV maker.

Geely alleged that WM Motor and its subsidiaries infringed upon its trade secrets, the company refused to comment when approached by local Chinese media.

Shanghai Higher People’s Court said it will start on Sept 17 to hear the case which was filed in 2018, without disclosing any other details.

Geely, which now owns Swedish Volvo Cars and boasts its own gasoline vehicles and electric vehicles, has asked for RMB 2.1 billion (USD 292 million) for compensation, the largest intellectual property lawsuit in China’s automobile industry, according to Chinese online news portal Sina.com.

Some of WM Motor’s founding team member came from Geely. For instance, Shen Hui, chairman and CEO of WM Motor, once served Geely as a director of the board and a vice president and also acted as the chairman for Volvo’s China business.

Zhang Ran, CFO of WM, used to be Geely’s CFO, while another co-founder Lu Bin, was Geely’s vice general manager in charge of sales, according to the same Sina report.

WM Motor, which has Baidu among its investors, has not responded to KrASIA‘s request for a comment on the lawsuit.

WM is one of the few emerging EV makers in China that has started to mass produce its vehicles.

The EV maker delivered more than 9,000 vehicles to buyers in the first seven months of this year, KrASIA reported last month, citing Wang Jing, who leads the company’s secondhand vehicle department. It surpassed another EV maker Nio in shipment between January and July, which delivered 8,379 vehicles.