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MAE 400 – FALL 2017

Third Individual Writing – Industrial Design Paper

• The student should analyze the trademark issues facing industrial
design –BMW Mini-Cooper 4-door vs the Lifan 320

– BMW Sells its Mini-Cooper 4-door in the US.
– Assume that the Chinese auto manufacturer Lifan was selling its SUV in the US.
– If BMW were claiming that Lifan infringes their trademark design in the US, would they

win?
• Apply US Trademark Law in the context of sales / consumers in the U.S.

• Format
– Exec Summary / Main Body / References / Figures where appropriate

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Where will it all end? Knockoff cars!?!?

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BMW “Mini Cooper” vs Lifan 320

BMW “Mini Cooper”
Lifan 320

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MAE 400 – FALL 2017

Third Individual Writing – Industrial Design Paper

• Remember the legal test!
– The plaintiff (the party seeking court assistance) must prove

• 1. that it owns a valid trademark,
• 2. that it has priority (its rights in the mark(s) are “senior” to the defendant’s), and
• 3. that the defendant’s mark is likely to cause confusion in the minds of consumers about the

source or sponsorship of the goods or services offered under the parties’ marks.
• When a plaintiff owns a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register, there is a legal

presumption of the validity and ownership of the mark as well as of the exclusive right to use the
mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods or services listed in the registration.

• These presumptions may be overturned in the court proceedings if the defendant makes a
persuasive argument.

• Your paper must address:
– Issue and the Conclusion: Does BMW own a valid mark? Yes/No/Maybe
– Does BMW have a registered Federal Trademark? (Hint: look at TM 78781927)
– Does BMW have “priority” – Yes/No – explain who is the senior user? Who is the

junior user?
– Will Lifan cause confusion in the minds of consumers?

• Work through the 8 factors in the Trademark test
– Will BMW prevail?

USE IRAC writing wherever possible to EXPLAIN your reasoning!
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Industrial Design Paper

• This paper should continue to conform to the margin and
executive summary of the first two papers

• The paper should continue to use APA format for references

• There should be at least 10 direct quotes in the paper. Facts
and outside opinions MUST be referenced.
– Stick to Legitimate Sources

• Newspapers (ex. LATimes, Arizona Republic)
• Respectable Magazines (ex. BusinessWeek)

• The paper should be long enough to adequately cover the
assignment, but concise enough to hold the reader’s
attention.
– Please keep it around 2,500 words.

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