In a ruling that is likely to have a huge impact on manufacturers of classic car replicas, a recent decision by a court in Sweden has seen Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), owners of the Jaguar Cars brand, victorious in a copyright claim against a small Swedish business.


JLR brought the copyright claim in a Stockholm court against long-time Jaguar enthusiasts Karl and Anne-Christine Magnusson. The Magnussons had designed and built a replica of the famous, 1950’s Le-Mans 24hr winning C-Type Jaguar. Their intention was for the replica to be the first of six that would be made, all customisable to the buyer’s specification and with a price-tag exceeding £200,000 per vehicle. However, the court found that their replica did infringe JLR’s copyright and ordered the couple to destroy the vehicle as well as ordering them to pay JLR’s legal costs of around £400,000.

Due to its heritage, looks, racing pedigree and scarcity, the Jaguar C-Type has proved to be a popular subject for replication over the past 40 years, with over 1,500 such replicas believed to have been constructed globally. Following the court’s ruling, many classic car enthusiasts who own such replicas – and others based on similar rare and famous vehicles – are now concerned that their own vehicles may fall foul of the law should JLR decide to take a similar approach in future. If so, and with other manufacturers potentially following suit, the impact on the burgeoning classic replica car scene could be disastrous. Following the decision, a spokesperson for JLR commented:

The Swedish court’s decision in our favour confirms that we were correct to take this case. According to the Swedish court, the external shape of the Jaguar C-type does have copyright protection, and this was infringed by a car being built by the defendants company, the first of six that they planned to build and sell for over €250,000. Jaguar Land Rover is not going after private owners of pre-existing individual replica vehicles, nor insisting upon the destruction of their vehicles. However, we will take action to prevent businesses using our Intellectual Property illegally for their own profit.”

 

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