Jeep has won its bid for an order to block the sale of Mahindra off-road vehicles that were alleged to be copycat designs of its iconic Wrangler, the Bloomberg news agency has reported.
The International Trade Commission ruled that the Mahindra Roxor – an off-road buggy that cannot be road registered in North America as it does not meet the latest approval standards – is a copy of the Jeep Wrangler and that it cannot be sold in the US.
The Mahindra Roxor is assembled in Michigan from parts made in India.
Jeep said the Mahindra Roxor is a “nearly identical copy” of its Jeep, particularly the “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood,” Bloomberg reported.
“Trade Judge Cameron Elliot in November found that the Roxor would infringe the trade dress of the Jeep as defined by six specific design elements, but not the registered trademarks for the Jeep’s front grille,” Bloomberg reported.
It was recommended that the commission block imports of the Roxor kits and components, because “Mahindra is purposefully trying to evoke the Jeep image, which would erode the value of the Wrangler,” Bloomberg reported.
Mahindra said it had made “significant styling changes” (such as those shown above) to try to improve differentiation between the Roxor and the Jeep Wrangler, and offered to “make additional styling changes, if so required, in co-operation with the (International Trade Commission).”
Mahindra also accused Jeep of trying to establish “a practical monopoly over the import and sale of components used in any boxy, open-topped, military-style” off-road vehicles.
As CarAdvice has previously reported, the Mahindra Roxor marketed in the US as an off-road buggy similar to Can-Am- and Polaris-type vehicles as the Roxor no longer meets road legal requirements.
Vehicles sold in the US are classified as utility terrain vehicles and can only be used on private property or off-road.
The Roxor doesn't have a windscreen as standard and the spartan interior lacks an airbag, though it does appear to have safety belts. A windscreen and removable roof are optional. The Mahindra website shows drivers wearing helmets and/or safety goggles.
The Mahindra Roxor off-road buggy is priced from US$16,599 ($24,260) in the US.