When you hear the word “scooter,” chances are Vespa is one of the first things to come to mind. The Italian scooter brand transformed itself from a post-war solution to personal mobility to a lifestyle icon and status symbol. Today’s Vespas aren’t so much about getting around in no-frills practicality, but instead, making a statement and turning heads wherever they go.

Sure, at the end of the day, Vespas are still two-wheelers decked out in the practical accouterments associated with scooters, however, their premium price tag and cutting-edge features clearly set them apart from the rest. You know what else sets Vespas apart from other scooters? Their styling. Indeed, you can tell a Vespa is a Vespa even from afar thanks to its flowing bodywork, sleek lines, and vibrant colors. That said, recent years have ushered in a number of wannabe Vespas, copycats, if you would, trying to ride on the Italian brand’s iconic aesthetic.

Vespa Wins Decade-Long Legal Battle Against Chinese Manufacturer
Vespa Wins Decade-Long Legal Battle Against Chinese Manufacturer

A number of these copycats unsurprisingly come from China, with one company in particular, Zhejiang Zhongneng Industry Group, catching Vespa’s attention because some of the scooters under its ZNEN brand were just a little bit too similar to those of the Italian brand – check out the images above. Vespa took action on this and raised the concern to the European Union Intellectual Property Office, which in 2014, acknowledged the unique design of Vespa’s scooters granting it trademark status.

In an interesting turn of events, Zhejiang Zhongneng Industry Group was somehow able to overturn the Vespa trademark. A report from Cycle World suggests that it did this by leveraging on its strong position in the European market, particularly after acquiring the rights to historic Italian motorcycle manufacturer Moto Morini. This eventually led to the EUIPO reversing its decision, allowing the Chinese brand to continue producing its ZNEN scooters.

With all that being said, it seems that the tides have once again shifted, and this time in favor of Vespa. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently formally recognized the design of Vespa, stating that it’s “unmistakable and cannot be replicated.” Following the recognition, the Vespa design was once again registered as a trademark, with the EU court effectively reverting its decision. The result was a resounding victory for Piaggio Vespa, with the result being that the ZNEN scooter is not allowed for import or sale anywhere in Europe.

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