Land Rover loses Defender trademark fight
High court dismisses JLR’s case to trademark Defender design, Ineos pushes ahead with Grenadier.
Jaguar Land Rover has lost an appeal to copyright a trademark on the original Defender design and put a roadblock in front of new start-up manufacturer Ineos.
The appeal to the UK’s high court was dismissed after JLR appealed a finding by the Intellectual Property Office. In that hearing, JLR sought to protect design elements of the original Defender that it believed to be distinctive and not to be copied by others. However, the IPO found that although the design could be seen as distinctive in the eyes of some enthusiasts, they “may be unimportant, or may not even register with average consumers”.
Now, global petrochemical company and new-found car maker Ineos, owned by Englishman Sir Jim Ratcliffe, will go full steam ahead with plans to launch its Ineo Grenadier (pictured below), the company’s first 4×4 and one which, for us enthusiasts, does indeed bring memories of the old Defender.
But as we know, Land Rover can’t deny that it has moved steadily on from that design, with the new model which will launch in Australia imminently a much more contemporary shape that doesn’t bear much resemblance to the boxy old 4×4 on a ladder frame chassis (the new one is monocoque) it previously sold.
Following the loss of its appeal in the high court, JLR said in a statement that it was (unsurprisingly) disappointed in the ruling.
“The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present and future,”, said the statement,
“Its unique shape is instantly recognisable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world.”
Ineos said that the shape “does not serve as a badge of origin for JLR’s goods.”
The Ineos Grenadier is penciled in for a launch next year and will come to Australia.