MAHINDRA LOSES TRADE CASE AGAINST FIAT CHRYSLER FOR COPYING LOOKS OF JEEP WRANGLER

A notice issued on 11 June 2020 by the United States International Trade Commission, Washington D.C. blocked the U.S. import of Roxor manufactured by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. after it was proved that it had copied the looks of Fiat Chrysler’s iconic Jeep Wrangler. The commission upheld that Mahindra’s Roxor is a nearly identical copy of Jeep Wrangler. It pointed out that the boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and a rear body ending at the same height is quite prominent in both the models.

In November, Trade Judge Cameron Elliot stated that Roxor infringed the trade dress of the Jeep and recommended the commission to stop imports of Roxor kits and components. The Judge also pointed that Mahindra has intentionally copied the design so as to evoke the Jeep Image and erode the value of Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler. However, both sides asked the International Trade Commission to review the decision. Fiat Chrysler admitted that it was pleased with the decision of the Commission but wanted to analyze the decision before giving any substantive comment.

In January, India’s leading sports utility vehicle company Mahindra stated that it has made necessary changes and would make additional styling changes if required by the commission. In its latest filing with the commission, Mahindra stated that the latest models of Roxor 2020 are not in violation and argued that Fait Chrysler is trying to grab a monopoly over the Jeep and Military style manufacturing market in the United States. Mahindra further stated in the statement that its North-American Jeep Roxor does not dilute or violate Wrangler’s trade dress which is no longer produced in the U.S. Market. The Roxor design is refreshed as per 2020 and there shall be further styling and design changes.

Due to pandemic, the sale of off-road vehicles in the United States has stopped in 2020 which is a $ 12 billion market. In April, there was no domestic sale of Mahindra’s Roxor due to the coronavirus pandemic whose components are manufactured in India and assembled at a plant in Michigan. According to Starview Research, the sales are expected to rebound in 2021. It is so because, in 2018, the U.S. Market was responsible for the sale of 60% of the world’s manufacture of off-road vehicles. 

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