(Add Mahindra commentary, background, signature)
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT, Dec.23 (Reuters) – A U.S. regulator ruled Wednesday that Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s new design for its Roxor off-road utility vehicle does not infringe on the intellectual property rights of Decree Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand, six months after banning the sale of older models.
The International Trade Commission ( ITC (NS :)) said the post-2020 Roxor model did not violate FCA’s Jeep Wrangler SUV “trade dress”, accepting an October administrative judge’s recommendation that the design changes made by Mahindra meant that an earlier cease and desist order should not apply to newer models.
“The ruling validates Mahindra’s redesign of the very popular Roxor all-terrain vehicle,” Mahindra said in a statement. “Mahindra is now licensed to manufacture and distribute the redesigned 2021 Roxor.”
The FCA said in a statement it was disappointed with the decision.
Trade dress consists of the unique characteristics that make a product stand out and is generally accepted as being identified with that product by the public. For example, for FCA, the square shape, grille and round headlights of the Jeep Wrangler are distinct from the brand.
In June, the ITC ruled that Mahindra had infringed the intellectual property rights of FCA’s 2019 Jeep brand and banned the sale of the vehicles in question. The ITC issued a limited exclusion order prohibiting the sale or importation of the vehicles and parts, as well as a prohibition and discontinuance order on Mahindra and its North American unit. had said the 2020 model had been refreshed and modified to avoid the problem, but the commission did not decide at that time whether the newer model and later versions violated Jeep’s trade dress.
The Roxor is assembled in Auburn Hills, north of Detroit.