Roxor could face BAN in the US as Judge finds Mahindra infringing Jeep design

Mahindra may no longer be able to sell the Roxor off-roader in the United States in the vehicle’s ‘present form’. Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot found that the Mahindra Roxor infringed on the design of Jeep’s ‘trade dress’, and recommended a ‘cease and desist’ order, which is meant to prevent Mahindra from selling the Roxor in the United States, reports CarScoops. Once Mahindra redesigns the Roxor’s front end styling, it may be able to continue selling the vehicle in the United States. For now though, sales of the Roxor are likely to be stopped by March 13th, 2020, after United States International Trade Commission confirms the judge’s orders, and gives a 60 day window to Mahindra for a presidential review.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the Italian-American car alliance, which also owns the Jeep brand, had filed a case against Mahindra and the Roxor, alleging that the Roxor copied a Jeep design, and that the court ban the vehicle and prevent Mahindra from selling similar vehicles in the United States. For now, it seems that FCA  has managed to stop Mahindra from selling the Roxor in the United States, and has won this legal round against the Indian automaker. It remains unclear if Mahindra would appeal this order. We’d be surprised if Mahindra doesn’t appeal.

Meanwhile, the Italian-American car making alliance FCA issued the following statement following its legal victory,

FCA US is pleased that an Administrative Law Judge at the United States International Trade Commission has found that the Mahindra Roxor vehicle infringes the iconic trade dress of the Jeep brand. FCA US believes the evidence and relevant law all strongly support the ALJ’s determination that Mahindra has engaged in unfair trade practices, and that Mahindra’s infringement was harming or likely to harm the Jeep brand and FCA US. The ALJ has determined Mahindra violated 19 U.S.C. Section 1337 and that an order excluding infringing vehicles and components from entry into the U.S. is appropriate. In addition, the ALJ has also determined that a cease-and-desist order is appropriate preventing Mahindra from selling any vehicles already in the U.S.. 

Mahindra and FCA have been at loggerheads from the second half of last year, following the official launch of the Roxor off roader (side-by-side) in the United States. FCA filed a suit against Mahindra, seeking a ban on Roxor’s sales in early August 2018. Weeks later, Mahindra counter-sued FCA, arguing that the Roxor was an off-road only vehicle that’s not meant to compete with any of FCA’s existing line up of vehicles. Mahindra even managed to win a case against FCA, which allowed it to import and sell the Roxor in the United States after the Indian automaker reached an agreement to revise the Roxor’s front grille. Now though, the clock seems to have turned a full circle with the Mahindra Roxor getting banned in the United States.

Notably, Mahindra showcased a redesigned version of the Roxor a couple of weeks ago. It was showcased at the 2019 SEMA Motor Show, where the front end of the Roxor dumped the vertically slatted grille for a grille with a cylindrical honeycomb design. This makes the Roxor look quite different from the one that’s banned.

Mahindra Roxor New Grille 2
Mahindra Roxor with a redesigned front grille

However, will it placate FCA enough for it to withdraw its case against Mahindra and the Roxor is something that only time can tell. Also, FCA is pursuing a separate infringement case against the Roxor in the United States District Court of Eastern Michigan, through which it not only seeks a ban on the Roxor but also ‘disgorgement of Mahindra’s profits from the infringing Roxor‘.

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