Jaguar Land Rover Defender Design Battle Unfolds

This week more details have emerged in the long-running Defender design battle between Jaguar Land Rover and chemicals company Ineos.

Jaguar Land Rover attempted to register the shapes of various versions of the Land Rover Defender as trademarks in an attempt to foil Ineos’s plans for its upcoming Grenadier 4×4, but Ineos opposed the registration applications.

Jaguar Land Rover appealed against the decision, but Judge Melissa Clarke dismissed the appeal following a High Court hearing. In her written ruling, dated 3 August 2020, she said that JLR hadn’t shown the office had made a “material error”.

She also noted that applications to register the shapes of the Series 1 and Series 2 Defender as trademarks had already been refused by the Intellectual Property Office, and that JLR hadn’t appealed against those decisions.

It’s been reported that Jaguar Land Rover’s designer, J Mays, who has previously worked for Ford, VW Group and BMW, stated that Ineos had mimicked the Defender’s clamshell bonne and its ‘Alpine’ roof windows, which he says are original to the JLR design:

“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.”

In a statement following the High Court Ruling, JLR stated: “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.”

As it currently stands, Ineos can go ahead with the Grenadier, but JLR may make a further appeal.

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