Fiat Chrysler claims Mahindra's Roxor model infringes its Jeep brand, complains to USITC

Fiat Chrysler has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (USITC) against Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), claiming that the Indian firm has infringed on the key characteristics of its Jeep in its Roxor model.

Last year, M&M announced plans to invest $600 million at its plant in Michigan to produce Roxors. The Indian company also promised to triple its workforce by 2020.
According to the complaint by Fiat Chrysler, the import of Roxor, which infringes on the key characteristics of its Jeep brand, will hurt its brands. The US firm said M&M capitalises on the low cost of manufacturing in India and then exporting the knocked-down kits to the US for assembly.
“Mahindra NA’s website show that they (Roxor) are a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep design and incorporate the Jeep Trade Dress and Jeep Design Marks,” Fiat said in its plea. “In fact, the Accused Product was modeled after the original Willys Jeep and copied down to the undercarriage of the historic Jeep CJ.”
The American company also cited reports from The Wall Street Journal and Detroit News, which claimed that the Roxor was similar to Jeep in terms of design.
“Mahindra has no right to use the Jeep IP,” said Fiat Chrysler. “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.
It pointed out that FCA’s predecessors did have prior dealings with Mahindra India, granting it contractual rights to manufacture and/or sell Jeep branded components and products in India beginning in the 1940s.
“And none of those contracts at any time granted Mahindra India (or any other Mahindra entity) ownership rights over Jeep brand-related intellectual property,” said Fiat. “Nor did any of these past agreements grant any rights to manufacture, sell, or advertise vehicles, such as the Accused Products, incorporating the Jeep IP in the United States.”