Mercedes tries to burst Shuanghuan's tiny Bubble, gives up

Mercedes decided to sue Shuanghuan Automotive for copyright infringement for its Bubble microcar (called the Noble in China), claiming it was a copy of the smart fortwo. BMW then decided to bring its own case against Shuanghuan, citing the Shuanghuan CEO as a blatant facsimile of the BMW X5 (that's the CEO on the wall in the above picture). Mercedes got the Bubble banned from display at a couple of auto shows, BMW won its copyright infringement lawsuit in Munich, and Mercedes sued the Bubble's importer, Martin Motors of Italy, to block sales of the car.

It was all looking good... until BMW lost its case in courts in Munich and in China. The Italian court ruled that "consumers could not get confused" when similar vehicles are offered "with a significant price difference." With BMW cold knocked out in the Copyright Cage Match, Mercedes has been left alone in the octagon with Shuanghuan bearing down on it. It also hasn't helped that Italian commentators have already said they don't think the two cars will be confused.

Now Mercedes is looking for an exit. Martin Motors countersued Mercedes for €100,000,000 - around $134.2 million USD - citing potential lost Bubble sales (that's a lotta Bubbles), and Mercedes doesn't want to lose its case and have to fork over colossal damages. Both sides expect the case to be resolved in a couple of weeks, and Bubbles are expected to go on sale this summer.

[Source: Motor Authority]

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