U.S. Federal Court Rules in Favor Mahindra Over Jeep Wrangler Trademark Infringement
The U.S. Eastern District Court of Michigan has settled a years-long dispute between Mahindra Automotive North America and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), later called Stellantis over the design of Mahindra’s Roxor off-roader.
The Court ruled that Mahindra can continue selling of redesigned version of its open-top side-by-side vehicle, the Roxor. This decision marks as a setback for Jeep, which has been trying to stop Mahindra from selling the Roxor in the United States for years.
The legal battle between the two carmakers started in the late 2010 when Jeep, then part of Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, claimed that the Roxor resembled its iconic CJ model too closely.
In 2019, FCA had filed a lawsuit against Mahindra Automotive, alleging trademark violation in the Roxor 4x4 that was being sold in the United States. FCA alleged that the Mahindra Roxor off-roader featured copied components that were trademark-protected by Jeep. The lawsuit was filed before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Michigan.
Subsequently, the United States International Trade Commission found Mahindra guilty of trademark infringement and recommended a cease-and-desist order from selling the Roxor in the U.S.
In response to the same, Mahindra redesigned the Roxor with a less CJ-like grille in 2020. However, the United States International Trade Commission ruled in Jeep’s favor in June 2020, but only for the pre-facelift model.
Thereafter, the U.S. regulator held that the updated Roxor did not infringe on Jeep’s intellectual property, allowing Mahindra to continue selling the off-roader. Jeep appealed this decision in September 2022, however the recent verdict announced in July 2023 did not go in its favor.
The FCA retaliated by urging the Court to implement the ‘safe distance rule,’ which would require Mahindra to register a new, non-infringing trademark that was sufficiently different from the infringed trademark, to provide clarification for consumers that the two products were unrelated.
However, the Michigan Court’s ruling denied FCA/Stellantis’ request, in turn allowing Mahindra to continue building and selling the post-2020 Roxor.
Accordingly, FCA’s motion to enjoin the Post-2020 ROXOR was denied. With this ruling, Mahindra Automotive North America, a subsidiary of the Company, shall continue to operate without any restraints on its ability to produce, sell and distribute the Post-2020 ROXOR in the United States.