Mahindra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are holding their ground in a fight over intellectual property, despite some reports claiming otherwise.
It has been widely reported in India that Mahindra had in fact won the case brought against it by FCA in the US, claiming that the Roxor infringes on intellectual property rights with its very Jeep-like grille. But FCA insists that the investigation has not yet concluded and the ruling will be out within a month.
Mahindra did release a brief following a hearing which lead media outlets to believe that the company had won the case. “FCA is contractually barred from pursuing this investigation if Mahindra’s vehicles contain or use the approved grille design” said Mahindra. “The evidence shows that Mahindra’s Roxor uses the approved grille design. Thus, the record supports a finding that Mahindra met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that FCA is contractually barred from pursuing this investigation.”
FCA followed suit by releasing its own brief, saying “Mahindra has failed to carry its burden in showing that all of FCA’s claims fall under the narrow scope of the 2009 Agreement. The Investigation against Respondents should therefore proceed.”
It’s clear that both companies feel they are right and that the U.S. International Trade Commission’s investigation will have to settle things.
The Roxor is in fact a derivative of WWII-era Jeep models, which back then were built under license by Mahindra in India. There have been agreements since then to keep production going, the most recent of which between the two companies was in 2009. But these agreements never discussed bringing a Jeep-like vehicle to the US.
In India and in other world markets, the vehicle is street legal and is sold as the Mahindra Thar.
The main point of the investigation is FCA trying to stop Mahindra from using the slotted grille design which is so related to the Wrangler, for fear that the Roxor could cut into Wrangler sales. “Mahindra has no right to use the Jeep IP. FCA owns and retains full rights in the Jeep IP and has not granted a license to Mahindra to use the Jeep IP in any country, including the United States,” Jeep said in an official statement.