Revealed: The background to the long-running Defender design battle that JLR lost on appeal
More details have emerged about the long-running Defender design battle that Jaguar Land Rover eventually lost against chemicals company Ineos.
As reported by Car Dealer, JLR last week failed in its bid to register the shapes of versions of the Land Rover Defender as trademarks, hoping to foil Ineos’s plans for its Grenadier 4×4.
Ineos had opposed JLR’s trademark applications, and a UK Intellectual Property Office official ruled last October that the shapes lacked ‘distinctiveness’.
JLR appealed against the decision, but following a High Court hearing, Judge Melissa Clarke dismissed the appeal in a written ruling issued on August 3, in which she said the Coventry-based manufacturer hadn’t shown that the office made a ‘material error’.
She also noted that the Intellectual Property Office had refused applications to register the shapes of the Series 1 and Series 2 Defender as trademarks but JLR hadn’t appealed against those decisions.
Both firms’ testimonies in the original case have now been detailed, with Automotive News Europe reporting that JLR hired ex-Ford, VW Group and BMW designer J Mays, who said Ineos had mimicked or copied the Defender’s clamshell bonnet as well as its flat, near-vertical windscreen plus ‘Alpine’ roof windows, which he said were all unique.
Adding that the offset spare wheel and back window’s style were design elements that belonged to JLR, he said in his report: ‘The resulting difference in the overall shape of the vehicle from the norms and customs of the SUV sector is clear and significant.
‘It is that shape which makes the Land Rover Defender so distinctive and acts as a visual receipt to the customer that it is a Land Rover Defender. It is unique.’
Ineos meanwhile brought in ex-Volvo and Austin Rover designer Stephen Harper, who pointed out that other models over the years bore similar design elements to the Defender – these included the Willys Jeep as well as the classic Mercedes-Benz G-Class models.
And it was Harper’s argument that held sway – both with the Intellectual Property Office and the High Court.
In a statement following last week’s High Court ruling, JLR told of its disappointment at the decision, adding that the Defender’s shape had been trademarked elsewhere.
It said: ‘The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present and future. Its unique shape is instantly recognisable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world.’
JLR may yet make a further appeal, but in the meantime Ineos can forge ahead with the Grenadier. It is currently holding talks with Daimler to buy a car plant in France and build it there, having originally said it would be made in Bridgend.
More on this: 17 stories
- Jaguar Land Rover's trademark court case: testimonies revealed
- INEOS Wins U.K. Legal Challenge to Totally-Not-a-Defender Grenadier SUV
- JLR Denied Bid to Trademark Defender's Shape
- Land Rover Loses Defender Trademark Suit to Ineos
- Court says Land Rover shape can't be trademarked
- Land Rover loses trademark case over Defender's shape, Ineos Grenadier
- Land Rover Defender shape 'not iconic enough' to stop Ineos Grenadier in its tracks
- Court rules in Ineos' favour after Land Rover lodges design complaint against new Grenadier
- Jaguar Land Rover Loses Trademark Battle Over The Original Defender In The UK
- Jaguar Land Rover loses trademark bid for Defender design
- Jaguar Land Rover loses appeal over registering Land Rover shapes for Defender
- Jaguar Land Rover loses court battle over Defender trademark
- Ineos reveals new 'no-nonsense' off-roader and takes aim at Land Rover Defender
- Ineos reveals Grenadier as rugged off-roader for 2021
- New Ineos Grenadier Wants To Take Over From Where The Classic Defender Left Off
- Old-school Ineos Grenadier is British billionaire's brand new off-road SUV brand