The legal team over at Jeep was not happy when the Indian automaker Mahindra announced it would export a little Jeep look-alike called the Mahindra Roxor to the States where it would be assembled and sold. Jeep and everyone who has seen a CJ Jeep knew immediately what Mahindra was ripping off when the Roxor was unveiled. FCA filed suit against Mahindra earlier this year, alleging that Mahinda was infringing on its “trade dress.”
The infringement, according to FCA, was on six distinct features that make a Jeep look like a Jeep. They include things like the exterior hood latches, door cutouts, and the flat appearing vertical side and rear body panels that end about the same height as the hood. Another big issue that FCA took with the Roxor was the front grill, which was a virtual dead ringer for earlier Jeep CJ grilles.
Strangely, Mahindra Automotive North America CEO Rick Haas said in court that the Roxor has the appearance of a Jeep CJ and admitted the Roxor looks a lot like a CJ. He said that “everyone understands our vehicle is a CJ” then admitted the CJ is a Jeep brand vehicle.
In the end, the judge overseeing the case found that the Roxor violates Jeep’s trade dress. The judge has recommended that the United States International Trade commission grant FCA’s limited exclusion order that covers the Roxor and its components. The judge also recommended a cease-and-desist order to prevent Mahindra from selling the Roxor in the States.
The cease-and-desist will prevent Mahindra from selling any of the Roxors that are still in the States. FCA is happy at the court decision. The order is expected to be issued by March 13, 2020. FCA is also pursuing a separate legal action that could see Mahindra hand over profits made from the Roxor so far.