A few years ago, Mahindra Automotive North America released a new utility vehicle called the ROXOR. We covered the story back in 2018.
The compact Roxor was designed to cater to hunters, farmers, off-roaders—basically anyone who needed a small, versatile utility vehicle. And it just looked cool, with styling that echoed an early Jeep CJ.
Problem is, Jeep and its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) thought it looked too much like a Jeep. And, despite Mahindra having a license to produce Jeep vehicles overseas, FCA sued Mahindra over infringement on Jeep trade dress.
“Trade Dress” can be a specific element of a product’s design or packaging. We’re talking about things like Jeep’s signature seven-slot grille or the familiar shape of a Coca-Cola bottle. Read more about the nuances of trademarks and copyrights here.
A legal battle ensued and Mahindra halted ROXOR production as a result.
But at the close of 2020 the International Trade Commission (ITC) revealed its final ruling that the redesigned 2021 ROXOR does not infringe on Jeep’s trade dress.
Note the term “redesigned” there too. The updated 2021 ROXOR will wear a new grille and have some other tweaks to its styling which will hopefully allow it to steer clear of future legal entanglements.
“ROXOR was a success from the beginning with off-road enthusiasts and people with active outdoor lifestyles,” stated Rick Haas, President and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America. “They like that it can withstand the rigors of rugged everyday use. This ‘ruggedness’ was at the heart of the redesign as we wanted an aggressive look that reflected just how tough and capable ROXOR is.”
ROXOR production is expected to resume and new, facelifted units will be returning to dealer showrooms sometime this year.