U.S. regulator modifies ban to allow Mahindra to sell new Roxor models in Jeep case
By Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) - A U.S. regulatory agency ruled on Wednesday that Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd's new design for the Roxor SUV did not infringe the intellectual property rights of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Jeep brand six months after it was banned from selling older models.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) said the Roxor model after 2020 does not violate the FCA's "commercial attire" of the Jeep Wrangler SUV and accepted an October administrative judge's recommendation that design changes made by Mahindra should not constitute an earlier injunction apply to newer models.
"The ruling confirms Mahindra's redesign of the hugely popular Roxor SUV," Mahindra said in a statement. "Mahindra is now allowed to manufacture and sell the redesigned 2021 Roxor."
The FCA said in a statement it was disappointed with the ruling.
Commercial clothing consists of the unique properties that characterize a product and is widely recognized by the public as being identified with that product. For example, FCA sees the box-shaped body shape, grille and round headlights of the Jeep Wrangler as standalone.
In June, the ITC ruled that Mahindra had infringed the 2019 FCA brand's Jeep intellectual property rights and banned the sale of vehicles in question. The ITC issued a limited exclusion order banning the sale or import of the vehicles and parts, as well as an injunction to Mahindra and his North American entity.
Mahindra had said the 2020 model had been updated and modified to avoid the problem, but the commission had not decided at the time whether the newer model and subsequent versions were against Jeep's commercial clothing.
The Roxor will be assembled in Auburn Hills north of Detroit.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
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