Indian automaker Mahindra has been keen on selling the Roxor side-by-side here in the U.S., but their efforts have been hampered by a legal dispute with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over its design. Once again, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled on Friday in FCA’s favor, cementing a cease-and-desist order against Mahindra to block imports of the vehicle above, as noted in the original complaint, into the United States.
The ruling brings to a close a legal argument that’s gone back several years. A judge ruled against Mahindra late last year, honing in on six key design elements that infringed on FCA’s trademarks. However, contrary to what you might expect, that did not include the trademark for Jeep’s grille design, an element which many casual observers note looks uncannily like a Jeep CJ-7, the precursor to the modern Wrangler. This new ruling addresses both sides’ requests to review the case, and neither Mahindra nor FCA have yet released an official statement on the matter.
As a preemptive measure to avert the inability to sell the Roxor in the U.S. market at all, Mahindra did redesign the side-by-side for the 2020 model year. The new version does away with most of the Jeep-like elements:
While it no longer looks like a Wrangler, some could argue this Roxor looks more like an old Toyota FJ Land Cruiser. That said, the Indian firm could argue it draws inspiration from those models without breaking current trademarks, since the new Land Cruiser looks nothing like it did several decades ago.
Mahindra does currently assemble the Roxor in the U.S.
In 2017, Mahindra actually opened a North American plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan. That was part of a $230 million investment to bring the Roxor to the United States. Right now, the vehicles are partially built in India before being shipped over for final assembly and sale.
For FCA’s part, the company said that Mahindra will “design right up to the line of infringement,” but we’ll have to see whether this ruling further impacts Mahindra’s plans to sell the Roxor here. With this ruling, the company must cease and desist from trying to sell the older, Jeep-like design.