An American court has ruled that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the owner of the Jeep brand, can sue Mahindra for the Roxor’s alleged infringement of the Jeep’s design. This is a setback to Mahindra. The Indian automaker had approached a US District Court, seeking an injunction that aimed at preventing FCA from suing Mahindra for the Roxor’s alleged design infringement.
Background of the events that led to this
On the 1st of August, Fiat Chrylser Automobiles – the owner of the Jeep brand – sued Mahindra by filing a complaint with the US International Trade Commission – a federal body that handles intellectual property violations in the United States. In the complaint, FCA alleged that Mahindra had copied the Jeep design on the Roxor, and that sales and marketing activities of the Roxor be immediately stopped in the United States.
Mahindra responded to these allegations by calling it nonsensical, and also pointed that it had an agreement with FCA that allowed it to sell SUVs in the United States with an ‘Approved Grille Design’, that was already approved by FCA. Mahindra stated that the design on the Roxor confirmed with the ‘Approved Grille Design’. However, FCA alleges that the Roxor’s grille design is “taller and more square” than the approved design and also includes circular headlights, which are similar to the Jeep’s, and are not part of the agreed-upon design.
Mahindra went to the US District Court seeking an injunction on FCA’s complaint against the Roxor. However, the court has not granted relief to Mahindra and has said that Mahindra did not ‘present evidence sufficient to show that they can succeed on’ defeating FCA’s allegations of patent infringement. What this means is FCA will be able to sue Mahindra, and the latter will have to defend itself in court.
If FCA wins this case against Mahindra, sales of the Roxor will have to be halted in the United States. Mahindra will have to then modify the design of the vehicle’s design if it wants to continue selling it in the United States. For now though, the case seems likely to go to court, and further events will be determined by what the court’s verdict is.