Udayavni Special

Mahindra’s off-road vehicle infringes upon Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep: US regulator

PTI, Jun 14, 2020, 3:44 PM IST

New Delhi: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) said a US regulator has upheld an earlier ruling which stated that its off-road utility vehicle Roxor infringed upon the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) has upheld the administrative law judge’s determination which held that the Roxor violated FCA’s trade dress, M&M said in a late-night regulatory filing on Friday.

The ITC recommended an exclusion of the order prohibiting the importation of Roxor parts and a cease-and-desist order prohibiting the sale of any already imported Roxor parts, it added.

Trade dress is a form of intellectual property that identifies the look of a product and distinguishes it from its competitors.

M&M, however, stated that the Roxor does not violate Jeep’s trade dress.

“The company and its US-based subsidiary Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) remain resolute in its position that the Roxor does not dilute or violate Jeep’s trade dress,” M&M said.

MANA is therefore considering its options with respect to a further review and appeal of the ITC determination, both during the presidential review phase of the ITC decision and at the federal circuit court of appeals, it added.

In November 2019, a judge of the US ITC had found that Roxor violated FCA’ Jeep trade dress’ and had recommended an exclusion order prohibiting import and sale of any already imported parts of the vehicle.

FCA had filed before the eastern district court of Michigan, seeking a permanent injunction on manufacture or sales of the Roxor, as well as disgorgement of any profits made by M&M from sales of the vehicle.

The vehicle that was subject of the action was produced in 2018 and 2019 and is no longer in production, the homegrown auto major said.

The Roxor design was refreshed for the 2020 model year and further design changes are in the works as part of the normal design cycle, it added.

MANA remains committed to the Roxor brand, its employees, and its dealers, M&M said.

Roxor was launched on March 2, 2018, to be sold in the US and Canada.

Soon after, FCA lodged a complaint with the US ITC alleging that it is a copy of Willys Jeep and the design elements of Mahindra’s product infringes some key design elements of Jeep.

Roxor is manufactured in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Mahindra has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into building its US operations and currently operates multiple facilities in the Detroit area.

It employs more than 400 US employees and hundreds more through its network of over 400 dealers and US suppliers.

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