September 11, 2018 / 3:52 PM / 2 months ago

U.S. to probe India's Mahindra over Fiat Chrysler Jeep complaint

FILE PHOTO: A Jeep Wrangler (R) is shown at the Criswell Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Fiat dealership in Gaithersburg, Maryland October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. regulator said on Tuesday it would launch an investigation into an off-road utility vehicle produced by Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (MAHM.NS) following a complaint by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV that it infringed upon the intellectual property rights of its Jeep design.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) said in a statement that it was launching a patent-related investigation into the Indian automaker’s ROXOR vehicle.

The ITC said the complaint was related to the import and sale in the United States of certain motorized vehicles and components that Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) had alleged infringed on its trademarks. The agency said it would aim to complete its probe within 45 days.

The ITC has indicated it will begin an investigation of Fiat Chrysler’s complaint and that it will also be conducting a 100-day expedited consideration of the 2009 agreement and its effect on the investigation, said Rich Ansell, vice president of marketing, Mahindra Automotive North America.

Fiat Chrysler could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last month, Mahindra (MAHN.NS) said that Fiat Chrysler had filed a patent violation complaint with the ITC against the company and called the complaint without merit.

Mahindra said that it and its North American unit had filed a public interest statement with the ITC and had begun proceedings in a Michigan court to enforce a design agreement that it had executed with Fiat Chrysler in 2009.

Mahindra was seeking an injunction against Fiat Chrysler from proceeding with the complaint, it added.

Fiat Chrysler had not made a monetary claim in the complaint but was seeking to block Mahindra Automotive from importing any parts or components into the United States that infringe upon Fiat Chrysler’s intellectual property rights, it said.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Nick Carey in Detroit, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Anil D'Silva

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