U.S. regulator modifies ban to permit Mahindra to sell new Roxor

by SpeedLux
Mahindra Roxor

A U.S. regulator ruled on Wednesday that Mahindra and Mahindra‘s new design for its Roxor off-road utility vehicle did not violate the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)’s Jeep brand, six months after prohibiting the sale of older models.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) said the post-2020 Roxor model did not breach the “trade dress” of FCA’s Jeep Wrangler SUV, accepting an administrative law judge’s October recommendation that design modifications made by Mahindra meant an earlier cease-and-desist order should not apply to recent models.

“The ruling validates Mahindra’s redesign of the highly popular Roxor off-road vehicle,” Mahindra said. “Mahindra is now allowed to manufacture and distribute the redesigned 2021 Roxor.”

“While FCA is disappointed with the commission’s decision regarding the redesign, we believe we will be successful in appealing this decision,” FCA said.

Trade dress involves the unique characteristics that make a product stand apart and is commonly accepted as identified with that product by the public. For example, FCA views the Jeep Wrangler’s boxy body shape, front grille, and round headlights as distinct to the brand.

In June, the ITC ruled Mahindra violated the intellectual property rights of FCA’s 2019-model Jeep brand and prohibited the sale of vehicles in question. The ITC issued a limited exclusion order banning the sale or import of the vehicles and parts, and also a cease and desist order to Mahindra and its North American unit.

Mahindra had said the 2020 model was modified to avoid the issue, but the commission did not decide at that time if the newer model and subsequent versions infringed Jeep’s trade dress.

The Roxor is assembled in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit.

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