Indian car maker Mahindra is seeking an injunction against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, asking the court to block them from proceeding with FCA’s patent violation complaint against the Roxor.
In early August, FCA filed a complaint against Mahindra, seeking to block the company from selling the Roxor, a compact off-roader that does indeed look like the original Willys Jeep. According to Fiat Chrysler’s complaint, the Mahindra Roxor infringes key features of Jeep’s signature design.
However, Mahindra fired back at them, saying that FCA’s complaint was “without merit” in an official statement. The North American unit of Mahindra has also begun proceedings in a Michigan court, in order to enforce a design agreement that it had signed with Fiat Chrysler in 2009.
“On August 23, 2018, Mahindra filed a complaint in Federal Court in Michigan on the issue of the applicability and enforcement of our 2009 agreement with Fiat. We are asking the court to block Fiat from participating in the International Trade Commission (ITC) claim – an injunction – because of the fact that they agreed in 2009 to never bring such claims if we use a grille that they approved,” the company said in its statement.
“The Roxor uses that grille. We are also arguing that Fiat is using the ITC case to harm our Roxor business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace.”
FCA has said that the imported Roxor threatens them with substantial injury as they’re “underselling Jeeps” and that Mahindra manufactures its products in India and then imports them as “knock-off kit cars” in the U.S., where they’re assembled in Detroit.
Mahindra rejects the notion that the Roxor is a low-quality “knock-off” kit car, saying that their model is the result of more than three years of research and development. The Indian car maker also added that the Roxor doesn’t even compete with FCA’s models (it’s not even road-legal).