U.S. regulator sides with FCA in Jeep trade case against Mahindra

DETROIT (Reuters) - A U.S. regulator has determined that India's Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd have infringed the intellectual property rights of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) jeep brand, except for the sale of the vehicles concerned.
The International Trade Commission said in a decision released late Thursday that Mahindra's Roxor off-road vehicle violated the FCA's "Jeep Wrangler SUV" commercial clothing. The ITC issued a limited exclusion ordinance prohibiting the sale or importation of the injuring vehicles and parts, and an injunction to Mahindra and its North American entity.
Commercial clothing consists of the unique properties that distinguish a product and is generally recognized by the public as being identified with this product. For example, FCA sees the box-shaped body shape, grille and round headlights of the Jeep Wrangler as independent.
The order is effective immediately, but the U.S. sales representative has 60 days to possibly decline it for political reasons.
The ITC, which originally initiated its investigation in September 2018, had reviewed an administrative judge's original decision last November. The outbreak of the corona virus delayed the ITC's decision.
Mahindra said in a statement on Friday that the vehicle under the ITC promotion is no longer in production and the design has been updated for 2020.
"The company and Mahindra Automotive North America ... remain determined that the Roxor Jeeps commercial clothing will not be watered down or injured," Mahindra said, adding that he is considering options regarding a complaint during the review period or in federal appeals court.
The FCA said in a statement that it was satisfied with the decision and that the Italian-American automaker had reserved further comments while studying the verdict.
The Roxor is assembled in Auburn Hills north of Detroit.
Mahindra reported a quarterly loss on Friday, pushing to cut costs during the outbreak.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman; editing by Dan Grebler and Daniel Wallis)

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