New Delhi, November 29 (IANS): Automobile major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) on Friday said an administrative law judge of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) found that the Roxor model of Mahindra violates the "trade dress" of Fiat Chrysler Automobile ANV's (FCA) Jeep.
The judge has also recommended an "exclusion" order prohibiting the import of Roxor parts and a "cease-and-desist" order prohibiting sale of any already-imported Roxor parts, Mahindra said in a regulatory filing.
However, the judge did not find a violation of FCA's registered trademark by Roxor design, it added.
"Trade dress" is a legal term that generally refers to characteristics of the visual appearance of a product or its packaging that signify the source of the product to consumers.
"In the complaint filed by Fiat Chrysler (FCA) before the United States ITC, the Administrative Law Judge has in his Initial Determination found that while the design of the Roxor vehicle does not violate any of FCA's registered trademarks, it violated FCA's trade dress. It recommended an exclusion order prohibiting the importation of Roxor parts and a cease-and-desist order prohibiting sale of any already imported Roxor parts," Mahindra's filing said.
It, however, added that the "initial determination" made by the Administrative Law Judge of the ITC is a non-binding recommendation to the ITC and Mahindra has asked the same to be reviewed.
But if FCA succeeds in getting a permanent injunction, then Mahindra Automotive North America will no longer be able to sell Roxors in the US, Mahindra said, adding the company believes that no claim for disgorgement of profits arise.
The FCA has filed a counterclaim in the proceeding filed by the Mahindra before the Eastern District Court of Michigan, seeking a permanent injunction on manufacture or sales of the Roxor, as well as disgorgement of any profits made by the company from sales of the Roxor.
Roxor is manufactured in the US by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), a subsidiary of the Mahindra. MANA launched the ROXOR off-road work and recreational vehicle in 2018 in its Auburn Hills, Michigan facility, which also serves as its North American corporate headquarters.