Englishman claims right to use MG badge
According to the Financial Times, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation is in dispute with William Riley, a motoring enthusiast and descendant of the founders of the famous Riley car marque.
Riley claims that he owns the rights to produce the MG X-Power, a limited-edition, hand-made racing coupe that has an £85,000 price tag.
The dispute has gone on for a year, and Riley recently tried to revoke 32 other MG trademarks held by Nanjing Automotive Corporation, which merged with SAIC last year.
Now the UK Intellectual Property Office is being asked to decide who owns the rights to the MG name in the UK.
NAC bought MG's assets for £53m in 2005 and shipped most of its plant to Nanjing in eastern China. It has since embarked on an ambitious plan to relaunch the brand in Europe and China.
Riley's carbon-bodied X-Power has a 540bhp Ford V8 engine and an estimated top speed of more than 200mph. It uses thousands of left-over parts and a chassis that he imports from Italy. He acquired the parts in 2007 from the liquidators of one of the companies in the MG Rover Group.
Riley says he legally acquired the intellectual property rights to the MG X-Power from PWC, the liquidators of MG Sports & Racing, and is entitled to use the name.
His cars would carry a silver and green MG X-Power logo, as opposed to the brown and white of the classic MG badge.
That does not sit well with the Chinese, who claim that any and all X-Power trademarks had been transferred to NAC long before Mr Riley came into the picture.
They say his asset sale agreement specifies that buying the X-Power parts did not confer any licence to use the words MG or Rover.
NAC says it intends to vigorously defend its right to the brand.