Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motor (威马汽车) was accused of commercial confidentiality infringement by Geely (吉利汽车), the largest vehicle manufacturer in China, and sued for about USD 294 million.
Geely already filed the lawsuit against WM Motor and its three subsidiaries last year but it released the news recently when the EV startup is seeking for a USD one-billion Series D round of funding. Bloomberg has reported this on July 1.
The startup completed last round of funding in March, so far raising in total financings of USD 3.2 billion. Whether the lawsuit will impose negative impacts on the company’s fundraising still remains unclear.
WM Motor denied the accusation and indicated its confidence to win at the court. It responded that the firm consistently focused on research and development, and put lots of efforts to protect intelligence property for WM Motor and other companies. As of June, the company was granted 1,076 patents.
Before founding WM Motor, the company’s several senior managers worked at Geely.
For instance, WM Motor’s founder and CEO Shen Hui (沈晖) joined Geely in 2009 and served as a vice president in charge of overseas acquisition. He was then named as the president of Volvo China after Geely purchased Volvo from Ford in 2010. The company’s co-founder and senior vice-president Lu Bin (陆斌) was a sales vice-president of a Geely’s subsidiary and he led the establishment of Geely dealer network before.