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Fiat loses case as court allows Mahindra to sell Jeep's copy in US

The court denied Fiat's request to apply the "safe distance rule" on Roxor

An earlier model of Mahindra's Roxor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in 2019.     (Photo: Bloomberg)

An earlier model of Mahindra's Roxor at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in 2019. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Bloomberg

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By Ragini Saxena

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV lost its renewed bid to block Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. from selling the redesigned Roxor off-road vehicle in the US after claiming the Indian automaker copied the design of its Jeep.
 
The Eastern District Court of Michigan on July 19 ruled that Mahindra Automotive North America can keep producing, selling and distributing the post-2020 version of Roxor, the Mumbai-based company said in an exchange filing late Thursday. The court denied Fiat’s request to apply the “safe distance rule” on Roxor.

The legal spat began after Fiat complained Roxor is a “nearly identical copy” of the Jeep, with some design elements such as “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.”

In June 2020, the International Trade Commission said that while the Roxor doesn’t violate Fiat’s trademarks, it infringes the trade dress — a product’s look that distinguishes its source to consumers — and recommended prohibiting the import and sale of Roxor parts, according to the filing.

Mahindra contended that Roxor’s 2018 and 2019 models — subject to the legal action — were no longer in production and the 2020 version had a fresh look with further design changes planned. In December that year, the ITC said that the post-2020 Roxor doesn’t infringe on the Jeep trade dress, modifying its previous order to exempt the redesigned Roxor from an import ban.

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First Published: Jul 21 2023 | 12:58 PM IST

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