Fiat Chrysler drags M&M to court in Australia, saying Thar infringes Jeep IP

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 13, 2021

Mahindra Thar was launched in India in October 2020

Case listed for hearing on May 20

After scuttling Mahindra & Mahindra’s plans to launch the Roxor off-road vehicle in the US, Fiat Chrysler has now filed a plea in Australia against the Indian company’s latest SUV Thar, alleging that it infringes on the intellectual property of the Jeep brand.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has approached the Federal Court of Australia, alleging that Thar’s design and styling were similar to the Jeep Wrangler off-roader.


‘Misleading representation’

“FCA firmly believes that Mahindra is seeking to intentionally infringe the intellectual property rights of our Jeep brand, specifically the Jeep Wrangler. FCA will pursue all available avenues to stop Mahindra from continuing to make misleading and deceptive representations in relation to our Jeep brand, pass off their Thar as a Jeep Wrangler, and infringe our design rights,” FCA said in a statement.

M&M launched the Thar in India in October 2020 and is betting big on its success. The Mumbai-headquartered auto major had started selling the Thar in other countries although it was yet to launch in Australia.

A Mahindra official spokesperson said there are no plans to launch the current model of the Thar in Australia. “We have filed our reply in the proceeding commenced by FCA against us. There are no plans to launch the current model of the Thar in Australia. We would provide adequate notice to FCA, as is requested, if we were to launch any future model of the Thar in Australia.”

The Australian court has listed the case to be heard on May 20.

Roxor case

In 2018, FCA had filed a complaint in the US to prevent the sale of Mahindra’s Roxor there on the grounds that it infringed the designs of its subsidiary, Jeep. The company said Mahindra Roxor is modelled on the original Willys Jeep.

While the US Trade Commission’s investigative staff had found no merit in Fiat Chrysler’s complaint, in October 2020 a judge at the International Trade Commission upheld FCA’s view that Mahindra’s off-road vehicle was a copy of the Jeep.

Published on May 12, 2021

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