Stellantis, formerly FCA Automobiles has yet again taken Mahindra & Mahindra to court. This time it is in Australia due to the design of the Thar. It is reported that Mahindra’s Australian website teased an image of the Thar, requesting people to register their interest. It was believed to indicate that Mahindra is looking to launch the new Thar 4×4 off-roader in the market. Stallantis believes that the design of the Thar infringes on its intellectual property as it looks similar to the Jeep Wrangler. This Stallantis claims Mahindra must not launch the vehicle in Australia, and if Mahindra intends to launch the vehicle, it should notify Stallantis 90 days in advance.
Stellantis released the following statement regarding the legal battle with Mahindra; “FCA US LLC and FCA Australia Pty Ltd. (FCA), both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Stellantis N.V, have requested that Mahindra immediately cease and desist from all activities related to the import, distribution and sale of the Thar product in Australia. FCA firmly believes that Mahindra is seeking to intentionally infringe the intellectual property rights of our Jeep brand, specifically the Jeep Wrangler. FCA will pursue all available avenues to stop Mahindra from continuing to make misleading and deceptive representations in relation to our Jeep brand, pass off their Thar as a Jeep Wrangler and infringe our design rights.”
We reached out to Mahindra for a comment on the matter to which a spokesperson replied; “We have filed our reply in the proceeding commenced by FCA against us. There are no plans to launch the current model of the Thar in Australia. We would provide adequate notice to FCA, as is requested If we were to launch any future model of the Thar in Australia. The Court has listed the case to be heard on May 20, 2021.
Since its humble beginnings as an assembler of a military off-road vehicle in the 1950’s, Mahindra has emerged as a significant full-line utility vehicle OEM offering a portfolio comprising EVs, SUVs, pick-ups and heavy commercial vehicles, with a large presence not only in the Indian domestic market but across 70 countries globally.”
The teaser image has since been removed from Mahindra’s Australian website. The Indian automaker is adamant that it has no intentions to launch the Thar in the Australian market currently.
This new dispute in Australia comes in less than a year since Mahindra & Mahindra won the legal battle in the US over the Jeep Trade Dress regarding the 2021 Roxor off-road vehicle.
FCA and Mahindra have been battling it out in court for some time. It all started with the Mahindra Roxor recreational ATV vehicle which was launched in America. The Roxor is an off-road only 4×4 and is not road legal in the US. However, FCA filed a lawsuit against Mahindra claiming that it infringes on the design of its Jeep Wrangler. In December 2020, US Regulators deemed the updated 2021 Roxor did not infringe upon the design and Mahindra was free to sell the Roxor in the US market.
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