Mahindra wins in IPR case filed by Fiat Chrysler in the US

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on November 28, 2018

US Trade Commission’s investigative staff upholds M&M’s stance


In a big boost to Mahindra, the US Trade Commission’s investigative staff has found no merit in Fiat Chrysler’s complaint against the Indian automaker for allegedly copying the grille design of Fiat Jeep. However, the International Trade Commission judge is yet to give a final order.

“The Commission Investigative Staff believes that Mahindra & Mahindra and Mahindra Automotive North America, Inc. met their burden of establishing that FCA US LLC is contractually barred from enforcing its intellectual property rights against Mahindra’s importation of the accused vehicle,” the investigating staff told the International Trade Commission judge in a written statement.

“FCA is contractually barred from pursuing this investigation if Mahindra’s vehicles contain or use the approved grille design. 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,” the statement added.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in August had filed a complaint in the US to prevent the sale of Mahindra’s Roxor there on the grounds that Mahindra had infringed the designs of its subsidiary, Jeep. The company said Mahindra Roxor is modelled after the original Willys Jeep. In response,Mahindra filed a complaint in Federal Court in Michigan on the issue of the applicability and enforcement of its 2009 agreement with Fiat. Mahindra said that Fiat agreed in 2009 to never bring such claims if it used a grille that Fiat approved. The Roxor uses that grille.

The off-road vehicle Roxor is based on Mahindra’s Thar without the hard rooftop and windscreen. Mahindra says it spent three years developing the Roxor for the US market.

“The Commission’s Investigative Staff has stated its support of Mahindra’s position and concluded that FCA is contractually barred from pursuing this investigation,” an M&M spokesperson said.

Published on November 28, 2018

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