May 15

Opinion – Mahindra and JEEP Conflict explained

It's a 70 years old issue

As per information collected based on different articles, this issue is almost 70 years old.

As per information on different articles, Mahindra does have the license to design Jeep CJ Model that was used in World War and they were producing it back from 1948. Mahindra and Jeep co existed in their respective markets.

Later Fiat acquired Chrysler which owns Jeep brand. Fiat has been very aggressive to protect its designs and they want their each car to look unique. They have had issues with #Hummer in the past too. In 2009, Chrysler had an agreement with Mahindra that they won't be copying their 7 slot grille design but can design cars with major modifications.
But ever since Fiat has acquired Chrysler, this design issue has escalated to another level.

Jeep - Mahindra Legal Issue in US

Fast forward years later and Jeep goes after Mahindra. The Indian automaker had plans to introduce its small off-road vehicle the #Roxor here in the U.S., but a suit against Mahindra in 2018 and its subsequent ruling in 2020 kept the vehicle from coming here. In their suit, Fiat Chrysler argued that the Roxor was too similar in design to the Jeep CJ and that that was a violation of section 337 in the Tariff Act of 1930.

That section essentially protects intellectual property, including designs that would be imported from another country and resemble something that is sold here. If this is the case, why didn’t every subsequent owner of Jeep have a problem with this? Mahindra got their licensing from Jeep in 1947, nearly 15 years after the tariff act. But, a cease and desist of sales of the Roxor followed.

Series of events

In 2018, FCA filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission, arguing that the Roxor’s Jeep-inspired styling features infringed on Jeep’s intellectual property.

In June, the ITC ruled in Jeep’s favor, prohibiting the sale of Roxors and parts. In 2020 June, the ITC ruled that the post-2020 Roxor model does not violate what is called the “trade dress” of Jeep, so Mahindra can now manufacture and distribute the 2021 Roxor.

While the end of the ban is great news for Mahindra, FCA isn’t happy. (From Reuters) In 2021, Now comes the Mahindra Thar. It’s a small compact SUV that resembles a mini Wrangler. It’s planned for release in Australia, but it’s not even on sale yet and Jeep is aiming to stop it. Jeep accuses Mahindra of “misleading and deceptive conduct,” “infringement of registered designs,” as Car Advice reports, and wants a 90 day notice if Mahindra plans to bring the Thar to market.

Mahindra says that they have no plans to sell the #Thar on the continent and has even provided Jeep a written letter saying so. This is despite sightings of camoed Thar’s testing on Australian roads and a webpage on their Australian site where customers can express interest. (It has since been taken down). #Jeep has issued a statement pretty much saying it doesn’t want the Thar to come to market, and that #Mahindra is intentionally poking the bear. Source: Wiki, Car Advice, Team-BHP and some US/Aus websites

Jeep - Mahindra Legal Issue in Australia

FCA, the American SUV maker, has appealed to the court to stop the launch of Mahindra’s Thar in the Australian market and if and it intends to do so, the company has to give Jeep a 90-day notice. According to FCA’s plea, the new Mahindra Thar infringes the Jeep Wrangler's design as seen in the teaser which indicated that the Indian automaker might soon launch Thar having design very similar to Wrangler.

In its reply against the suit filed by FCA, the Indian auto manufacturer has stated that Mahindra does not have any plans to launch the current model of the Thar in the Australian market. The company has also agreed to furnish a 90-day notice period in case it wants to launch any future model of the Thar in Australia. The company has also removed the teaser of the Thar from its Australian website.

The Court has listed the case to be heard on May 20, 2021. This is not the first time that Jeep and Mahindra have locked horns. Jeep and Mahindra have come again at the opposite end of a courtroom only five months after Mahindra & Mahindra won a court case against FCA in the USA.

Source: Wiki, Overdrive, Team-BHP, News 18 Auto, AutoCar

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