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U.S. Judge Rules in Favor of Jeep in Lawsuit Against Indian Firm

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The United States International Trade Commission, in a case filed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles against Indian firm Mahindra, ruled that the latter’s Roxor model resembles the Jeep too closely. Based on the ruling of Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot, Mahindra is guilty of trademark infringement and is ordered to stop selling Roxors in the U.S.

The Jeep CJ was introduced in 1945, and while it has weathered a lot of companies copying its basic design in the past, Judge Elliot said that the Roxor went too far by violating what the American company refers to as its “trade dress.” Simply put, the Roxor looks too much like a Jeep when it’s not from the same brand.

In a statement, FCA said Judge Elliot determined “an order excluding infringing vehicles and components from entry into the United States is appropriate.” It was also revealed that the court’s decision recommended the implementation of a cease-and-desist order.

According to reports, the Roxor will be getting a new-look grille for the next model year. The model keeps the round headlights, but its grille no longer has the vertical slats to make way for a less contentious design horizontal-lined vents.

The final decision, however, is with the USITC, which needs to confirm the ruling and implement the recommended measures once deemed fair by the commission.

FCA is expecting a final ruling from the USITC by March 13, 2020. Mahindra, on the other hand, has not commented on the verdict.

Prior to Judge Elliot’s ruling on the case, Mahindra has worked on the design of a Roxor offshoot. According to British magazine Autocar’s Indian edition, the Roxor will be getting a new-look grille for the next model year. The model keeps the round headlights, but its grille no longer has the vertical slats to make way for a less contentious design horizontal-lined vents.

The foreign company has not released information when it will begin the production of the updated Roxor, but it is expected to arrive soon.

In May 2020, a new legal battle between FCA and Mahindra will begin as the American automaker seeks “an injunction to prohibit future sales of infringing vehicles, as well as disgorgement of Mahindra’s profits from the infringing Roxor.”

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