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U.S. regulator to review the complaint against Mahindra

A U.S. regulator stated it will review part of a recommendation made last year that Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra infringed upon the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep SUV design.

The International Trade Commission (ITC) stated it would take a look into administrative law judge’s initial determination last November that Mahindra’s Roxor off-road utility vehicle has infringed on the “trade dress” of FCA’s Jeep. The judge recommended the commission bar entry of Mahindra vehicles or parts that infringe and release a cease-and-desist order.

Trade dress includes the unique characteristics that make a product stand apart and is normally accepted as identified with that product by the public. For example, FCA observes Jeep’s grille and round headlights as distinct to the brand.

The commission, which in September 2018 at first started its investigation, stated on Wednesday it is targeting completion of the inquiry by March 20.

If the ITC suggests a form of remedy, the U.S. Trade Representative would have 60 days to approve, disapprove or take no action on that determination.

Mahindra, which earlier called FCA’s claims without merit, on Thursday welcomed the commission’s review.

“We are optimistic that the ITC will in its review conclude that FCA did not establish previously unclaimed U.S. rights in trade dress and that there was no infringement of either trade dress or registered trademarks,” the company stated in an emailed statement according to Reuters.

Mahindra stated it has launched its model year 2020 Roxor with what it described as “significant styling changes” and added that it would make more changes if the ITC required it.

FCA was not concerned that the commission will overturn the judge’s initial recommendation.

“Review is a part of the commission process,” the Italian-American automaker said in an emailed statement according to Reuters. “Based on the facts and law, FCA US remains confident the administrative law judge’s initial determination of violation by Mahindra will be adopted by the commission.”

The Roxor is built in Auburn Hills, Detroit, by Mahindra’s North American subsidiary.

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