The Geely Investment
The London taxi Company is owned by the Chinese group Geely. The Chinese group has invested more than £300 million to establish a plant in Coventry. The plant will manufacture new hybrid green taxis which will be released in 2017. This is a new auto plant in the UK in a decade and will give the London’s iconic black cab a great makeover.
The Tx5 will capable enough to hold 6 passengers and will be modelled on hybrid qualities. This means the green taxi will be able to switch from petrol to electricity when low on battery.
In January 18 by a new law all taxis and private hire vehicles are required to have zero emissions capability for at least 30 miles. The new green black cab will be entering the market just before this ruling is practiced.
The Court Case
The legal row was between the traditional London taxi manufacturer and the new group behind the eco friendly cab. The London taxi company had claimed that the Metrocab had been substantially copied from the design of Tx4 which is the latest version of the black cab. The hearing is about the three dimensional drawings of the black cab which the London
Taxi Company Wishes to Own as a Trademark
The Metro cab is a hybrid power taxi developed by Frazer Nash Research and ecotive. This company intends to launch taxis which use a combination of electric battery and a petrol engine. The metrocab will go into bulk production by the end of this year. The green taxi service is line with the Mayor of London’s requirement of all private hire vehicles to be zero-emission by 2018.
The Judge’s Verdict
The judge ruled the black cabs are not as unique as we thought they were. He stated the taxi lacked inherent distinctive character. The judge further went on to say that the black cabs are a merely variation of the original shape of the car. The judge supported the Metrocab’s plea and ruled that trademarks exclusively relating to shape are invalid.
The Judge dismissed all the allegations made by the London taxi company to be deeply implausible and said that even if the shape of the black cab was a trademark the Metrocab is not a copy of TX4.
The Impact of the Ruling
The chief executive of the London taxi company was extremely disappointed by the judgement and is to proceed with a review for the ruling.
The black cab has got another blow especially after its battle against the location based smartphone app Uber. Uber is taking over the black cab market by large and the black cabs are battling for their existence. What’s more the transport for London has announced that it will not be introducing regulations which require operators to provide booking details to the passenger at least five minutes before the journey takes off. This regulation would have hit Uber hard but it seems the black cabs are in for a bad time everywhere instead.
The black cabs have been a symbol of London. It is sad to see them battle for their existence like this.