Two years after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) filed a case against Indian automobile giant Mahindra & Mahindra for allegedly copying the iconic design of Fiat’s Jeep in its Roxor SUV, the USITC (United States International Trade Commission) has reportedly announced the decision in the favor of FCA.
According to sources, the USITC said in a notice posted on its website that FCA has won its bid to ban US imports of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.'s off-road vehicle Roxor that copies the design of its Jeep Wrangler.
The Commission accepted the opinion of a judge who concluded that Mahindra’s off-road vehicle is a clone of FCA’s Jeep. The Trump administration has the power to reject a decision made by the commission, however that rarely happens.
Fiat Chrysler reported that the Roxor was almost similar to its Jeep, with a boxy body with flat vertical sides and a rear frame finishing at almost the same height as the hood.
In November, trade Judge Cameron Elliot ruled that the Roxor would breach the jeep's trade dress, as specified by six different design features, but not the registered trademarks for the Wrangler's front grille.
He recommended the commission to block imports of the Roxor kits and parts, claiming that Mahindra intends to evoke the image of the Jeep that would erode the Wrangler's value. The committee was asked by both parties to examine the aspect of the vote they had lost.
In a submission to the Commission, Mahindra said that his new models are not in violation and, in the case of box-open military-style vehicles, Fiat Chrysler is seeking a practical monopoly on imports and sales.
For the record, Roxor is manufactured in India and assembled at a plant in Michigan by Mahindra & Mahindra, one of India’s leading manufacturers of sporty utility vehicles. The pandemic has already impacted the sales of the Indian automobile industry which recorded zero domestic sales in April. The company is eying the American market, the world's most common off-road vehicle industry, by introducing off-road vehicles like Roxor SUV.