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Mahindra seeks injunction against Fiat Chrysler's infringement complaint

Indian carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said Aug. 29 that it has taken steps to respond to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's patent infringement complaint against the company.

Fiat Chrysler filed an infringement case with the U.S. International Trade Commission earlier this month to stop Mahindra from importing its off-road vehicle Roxor, alleging that it Roxor is a "knock-off" of its Jeep vehicle.

In response, Mahindra filed a public interest statement with the ITC on Aug. 22 to state its position on the matter and "to correct inaccuracies regarding Mahindra as a company and Roxor as a product."

"We also demonstrated that the Roxor is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the Roxor was an imported low quality 'knock-off' kit car," the Indian company said in a statement.

In addition, Mahindra on Aug. 23 filed a complaint in the Federal District Court of Michigan, highlighting the applicability and enforcement of its 2009 agreement with Fiat Chrysler.

The company said it is seeking an injunction against Fiat Chrysler, claiming that the latter agreed in 2009 to never bring such claims if Mahindra uses a grille that Fiat Chrysler approved. Mahindra maintained that the Roxor, which uses the grille, does not compete with Fiat's vehicles.

The Mumbai-based automaker also argued that Fiat Chrysler is using its case to harm Mahindra's Roxor business by creating negative publicity and damaging the company's reputation.