Mercedes-Benz used the 2016 Paris auto show to launch a new sub-brand for electrified cars called EQ.
Since then Mercedes has used the EQ Power+ name on its 2017 Formula One car and Mercedes-AMG GT concept to denote the cars’ respective hybrid powertrains, and eventually the automaker will start offering EQ-badged electric cars.
A potential problem for Mercedes is that in China local automaker Chery has been selling an electric car called the Chery eQ for the past two years—and Chery is not happy about Mercedes adopting the name.
2015 Chery eQ
A spokesperson for Chery confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that the automaker had filed a complaint with China’s Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. If the trademark office rules in Chery’s favor, Mercedes may be blocked from using the EQ name in China.
“If it entered the Chinese market, it would impact our trademark rights,” the spokesperson said. “Mercedes-Benz EQ and our [eQ] are extremely similar; their product is also an electric car.”
Tesla faced a similar issue in China. Before entering the market, a Chinese resident by the name of Zhan Baosheng had already registered a trademark for the Tesla name. Tesla initially operated in China under the Tuosole name but in 2014 finally reached an agreement with Baosheng for the rights to the Tesla name.