For Jaguar, one of the true classic car icons of the post WW1 era, seems to have scored an own goal against itself and its worldwide host of owners and supporters, by suing a lifelong Jaguar enthusiast in Sweden for copyright infringement. The reason for this legal finding was that Karl Magnusson, a pensioner, had built a pristine 1951 C-type replica in his home garage in Gothenburg and Jaguar Land Rover decided to make an example of him for copying the design of its famous sports racing car.
This surprise outcome follows decades of public approval for the replica car industry, including support from Jaguar itself.
Unless this shock court ruling is overturned it could set a global precedent for car manufacturers to go after the many thousands of people who have built replicas. This will cause chaos in the ranks of classic car enthusiasts, particularly as many of these replicas have been awfully expensive to build and are absolute works of art.
Not only is Magnusson (68) an honorary member of the Swedish Jaguar Club, but he was invited, in 2016, to give a presentation on his C-Type to the senior management of Jaguar Land Rover Classic at its head office in the United Kingdom!
The Swede said that this C-Type was to be the cherry on the top of his private collection of Jaguars. The collection was sold for R9-million to pay the cost of the lawyers. The court not only deemed the C-type illegal but also ordered its destruction! The project C-type had taken nine years to research and build.
It is estimated that 1 500 C-type replicas have been built over the past 45 years and the owners could all be forced to destroy these prized possessions if JLR goes for the jugular.
A recent article in Autosport stated that although this was a verdict by a Swedish court the repercussions could go right through the European Union and be invoked by other countries. Evidently this could also include the UK, despite Brexit.
This will not only affect owners of thousands of Ferrari, AC Cobra, Porsche, Ford GT40, Aston Martin and other replicas but will also impact on builders in countries outside the EU – such as South Africa – where world class replicas are made and shipped overseas, including into Europe.
Autosport reported that Karl Magnusson said he did not understand how Jaguar could turn against the replica-building industry given their support directly and indirectly over the years. It seems that no fewer than three Jaguar CEOs have agreed to the supply of close to 2 000 technical drawings of Jaguar cars and their components to replica builders and themselves made awards to replica builders.
The distraught Swede added that some Jaguar senior managers and one director have privately built and raced C-types themselves, while the company has arranged races for Jaguar replicas and is building so-called “continuation” models itself, which incorporate some parts supplied by the replica building industry.
The Magnussons are determined to continue the fight and appeal the verdict. This will be a costly business and they have started crowd funding to raise the necessary funds on https://gofund.me/f6916372
Jaguar responds to the Jaguar community;
You may have seen a recent news story relating to a C-type replica which portrays Jaguar Cars negatively, after a Swedish court ruled in our favour confirming that the C-type is protected by copyright. We wanted to reassure our customers and loyal enthusiasts that most of this news release was misleading, conjecture or completely untrue. At Jaguar Land Rover we wholeheartedly value our communities’ continued support. Importantly, we want to allay any fears amongst the network of enthusiasts that Jaguar Land Rover might pursue individual owners of replica Jaguars and insist upon their destruction. This is not true. We will, however, take action to stop businesses using our Intellectual Property illegally for their own profit, as in this case.
The Swedish court’s decision in our favour confirms that we were correct to take this case forward. According to the Swedish court, the external shape of the Jaguar C-type is protected by copyright, and this was infringed by a car being built by the defendants’ company, the first of six that they planned to build and sell at over Euros 250 thousand each.
At Jaguar Land Rover we understand that original C-types and official continuations are attainable for only a few and would like to be enjoyed by more enthusiasts. We have never, nor would we, act against private owners of pre-existing individual replica vehicles, nor insist upon the destruction of their cars. In this case Jaguar Land Rover offered the defendants an opportunity to retain their completed replica for private use and enjoyment, however, this was declined, and the defendants chose to continue with their plans to make money from our copyright.
The enthusiasm of our fans and the celebration of our heritage is extremely important to Jaguar Land Rover. We will do everything we can to safeguard our heritage and it’s to honour this commitment that Jaguar Land Rover Classic was established in 2017. Dedicated to the production, restoration and maintenance of historic models, as well as the manufacture of new parts, Jaguar Land Rover Classic ensures that enthusiasts can enjoy our vehicles long into the future.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic preserve cars of historic significance and collections, we train talented technicians in specialist methods to build and maintain these special vehicles, ensuring traditional skills do not disappear, and work with owner groups around the world. When restrictions are lifted Jaguar Land Rover Classic will once again open the doors of its world class facilities for enthusiasts to enjoy. We thank you for your ongoing support.
Dan Pink, Director, Jaguar Land Rover Classic on behalf of Jaguar Land Rover
By Roger Houghton