Have “No Intention To Sell Thar In Australia”, Mahindra Tells Oz Court
US automaker Jeep is attempting to stop Mahindra from selling its Thar in Australia on the grounds of design infringement.
Update – When contacted by MotorBeam, a Mahindra official spokesperson responded by saying: “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.”
Looks like the Mahindra-Jeep legal dispute is yet to be settled as the US firm is trying to stop the Indian carmaker from selling its Thar compact off-roader in the Land Down Under.
Recently, Jeep commenced Australian Consumer Law proceedings against Mahindra for alleged “infringement of registered designs”, “passing off” and “misleading and deceptive conduct”.
In addition, the maker of the Wrangler SUV wants Mahindra to provide a written notice at least 90 days prior to commencing homologation of the Thar in Australia if it had an intention of selling the vehicle in the country.
Earlier this year, Mahindra’s Australian website had an expressions of interest page (which has since been taken down) with regard to the second-generation Thar.
Those who responded to it received an email which stated that Mahindra is getting closer to launching the Thar in Australia. It has been learnt that at least 1 Mahindra Thar was imported into the island nation for testing. However, the certification process was never commenced.
Representing Jeep, Patrick Flynn (SC), told Justice John Halley, who took up the case management hearing in the Federal Court of Australia, that Mahindra “advertised locally that the vehicle was coming to Australia”.
Thus, Jeep wants Mahindra to notify it of any plans to launch a Jeep Wrangler-like 4-wheel-drive vehicle at least 90 days before the commencement of the vehicle certification. The Thar, according to many appears to be inspired by the Jeep Wrangler’s design.
John Hennessy (SC), who represents Mahindra, told the court that the Indian firm had provided Jeep with a letter informing the carmaker that Mahindra “had no present intention to import and sell the Thar vehicle in Australia”. Jeep went ahead with commencing the proceeding regardless, Hennessey noted.
Instead of the 90-day notice period, Mahindra has proposed a 45-day notice period. But, legal representatives for Jeep argued that Mahindra could use the proposed shorter notice period to bring a car to market or promote it before the homologation process commences.
The Mahindra-Jeep legal dispute hearing has been adjourned until the next hearing which will take place on 20th May 2021.
A statement issued after the hearing on behalf of Jeep read: “FCA firmly believes that Mahindra is seeking to intentionally infringe the intellectual property rights of our Jeep brand, specifically the Jeep Wrangler.”
It noted that Jeep has requested that “Mahindra immediately cease and desist from all activities related to the import, distribution and sale of the Thar product in Australia”.
FCA has vowed to “pursue all available avenues” to stop Mahindra from “continuing to make misleading and deceptive representations” in relation to the Jeep brand, “pass off their Thar as a Jeep Wrangler, and infringe our design rights”.
Source – CarAdvice.com.au