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Jeep Wins Over Mahindra Over Design Disputes Anew

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Jeep and Mahindra have been involved in a legal battle for quite a while, stemming from disputes over the design of their respective vehicles.

In particular, Jeep’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has been pursuing a stop-sale order for the Indian manufacturer’s utility vehicle. According to FCA, Mahindra’s Roxor deeply resembles its classic Jeep CJ model in not one but six key areas.

The legal battle has been ongoing for years and in November 2019, a judge in the United States sided with Jeep. Now, Mahindra finds itself in a deeper hole as the United States International Trade Commission issued a similar ruling.

According to a report published by Bloomberg, the ITC issued the ruling through a multi-page summary posted on its website. In the documents, the commission ruled that Mahindra’s Roxor was too similar to the Jeep and put out a limited exclusion order on the infringing products. A cease and desist order was also placed upon Mahindra, Mahindra Limited, and Mahindra North America.

Closeup of classic Jeep's grille
FCA’s claim stated the older Roxor used to have four and a half slots on its grille, while Jeep’s has a total of seven.

The row began when FCA claimed in court that Mahindra’s Roxor was a “nearly identical copy” of the Jeep. It stated that the older Roxor used to have four and a half slots on its grille, while Jeep’s has a total of seven.

Mahindra responded to this claim by saying that Roxor is strictly an off-road vehicle and that it wouldn’t affect Jeep’s sales. Moreover, the Roxor has different powertrain options (a three-cylinder turbodiesel), a new transmission, and a unique steel frame that was not found on Jeep’s classic CJs.

In 2009, FCA gave Mahindra permission to sell its Scorpio in the United States, a model for which the Indian automaker acquired a license to build, upon the condition that it will have a five-slot grille instead of seven. The Scorpio ultimately didn’t make it to the American market, but Mahindra used Jeep’s previous approval to sell the Roxor in the U.S. instead.

Following Trade Judge Cameron Elliot’s decision on the issue last year, Mahindra made reconfigurations in the Roxor’s design and gave the model vertical slots on the grille, as well as flush-mounted oval headlights. However, the front fenders and rear-end remain untouched.

At this point, it remains unclear whether other Mahindra models will be allowed on the American automotive market.

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