Jaguar Land Rover recently lost a UK court appeal regarding the trademark of the shape of its Defender SUV, absolving Ineos Group to go ahead with their off-road vehicle. With JLR losing the bid to Ineos, the chemical and oil giant will be using the claimed design for their Grenadier, whose production is yet to begin in 2021.
According to the UK Intellectual Property Office, the design or the shape that JLR was trying to protect isn’t distinctive enough. The judge said that the difference might be significant for a specialist but “maybe unimportant, or may not even register, with average consumers.” Consequently, JLR’s appeal has been dismissed by the judicial authority, according to the Telegraph, who broke the news first.
The Defender’s design has been a dispute since its production began. What makes the situation quite ironic is that Ineos actually approached Jaguar Land Rover to buy the Defender design’s usage rights in 2016, but JLR had firmly declined the offer. And not, Ineos is allowed to use the same design without having to pay anything to the legendary British manufacturer.
The judgment was disappointing for Jaguar Land Rover, as demonstrates by their response. “The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present, and future,” they stated. “Its unique shape is instantly recognizable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world.”
The Ineos Grenadier off-road has a similar design, and Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of Ineos, is relieved by the result of the hearing. He said that “does not serve as a badge of origin for JLR’s goods,” defending the Defender’s design. He also noted that, indeed, the design of the Grenadier was inspired by the Defender, which is why he was well disposed to buy the rights from their rightful owner.
Ineos is now planning to spend $1.3 billion to produce its Grenadier, which is thought to manufactured in Bridgend, Wales. The oil and chemical giant is currently in the process of acquiring a new plant in Hambach, France. Although there is no clarity as of now on the production of the vehicle, Ineos promised its audience that there will be an official press release, sometime in 2021.
The popularity of Jaguar and Land Rover in the US and other countries is a significant advantage for them, and losing the trademark bid might not be too harmful to their business. But for Ineos, this is going to be a big win considering the stature and balance sheet numbers of the Jaguar Land Rover.
Jaguar is still launching the four-door 2020 Defender 110 model, priced at $50,925, and there has also been an announcement for a two-door Defender 90, but details have yet to be released.