Published on September 8th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
WM Motor being sued by Geely for company espionage
Trade and engineering secrets are big business in todays car industry
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., China’s largest carmaker, is suing electric vehicle startup WM Motor for violating business secrets and is requesting 2.1 billion yuan (USD294 million) in compensation.
Shanghai High People’s Court is scheduled to start hearing the case on September 17 this year. WM Motor, responding to media reports on the lawsuit, denied Geely’s charges in a statement last week and said it has strong confidence in winning the case in court.
The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Geely Group, along with its research institute, against WM Motor and three of WM Motor’s subsidiaries: an assembly plant in the east China city of Wenzhou, its Shanghai-based mobility provider and an EV sales company.
WM Motor was incorporated in Shanghai in 2016. Its founder, Freeman Shen, and two other senior executives previously worked for Geely Group. Lu Bin, WM Motor’s co-founder and senior vice president, became vice president of Geely Automobile Holdings, Geely Group’s Hong Kong-listed subsidiary, in 2013.
Shen joined Geely Group in 2009 and became vice president in charge of overseas acquisitions. He was appointed China president of Volvo Car Corp. after Geely Group acquired the Swedish carmaker from Ford Motor Co. in 2020.
This is China’s first IP legal battle. WM Motor, which has Baidu among its investors, has not responded to any media‘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, 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.