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General Motors Corp. said Friday it has reached a settlement resolving all legal disputes with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co., which had been accused of pirating the design of GM’s Spark minicar. GM had said its Spark looks similar to the Chery QQ, and the world’s biggest automaker had filed lawsuits trying to prevent Chery from selling the car in various markets, including Asia and Eastern Europe. GM also had threatened legal action against Chery because of its name. GM says “Chery” sounds too much like “Chevy,” the nickname of its Chevrolet brand. Chery agreed in September that it won’t market its vehicles under the Chery name in the United States. Under the settlement, GM and Chery won’t take further legal action against each other. Further details of the settlement weren’t released. GM said the two automakers will concentrate on developing their separate businesses. “All parties highly appreciate the efforts that have been made by relevant governmental authorities for the purpose of further clarifying the intellectual property rights issue and relevant legal frameworks,” GM said in a statement. GM obtained the Spark design in 2002 when it acquired South Korea’s Daewoo Motor Sales Corp. In September, China’s State Intellectual Property Office determined the Spark design was never patented in China and wasn’t protected by China’s intellectual property laws. GM and Chery are two of the biggest players in the Chinese market. Five Chery models are expected to arrive in the U.S. market in the summer of 2007, according to New York-based Visionary Vehicles, which plans to market Chery vehicles in the United States. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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