Currently reading: Jaguar Land Rover's trademark court case: testimonies revealed
New details of the landmark trademark case between JLR and Ineos reveal both brought in former car company design bosses to defend their stance
News
3 mins read
10 August 2020

Jaguar Land Rover last week officially lost its UK court bid to secure the trademark rights for the shape of its old Defender 4x4, allowing Ineos Automotive, an offshoot of a multibillion-pound chemicals firm, to proceed with producing its similarly styled Grenadier

Now, more details of both firms' testimonies to the court have been revealed by Automotive News Europe. They show that JLR brought in former Ford design chief J Mays to defend its stance. Despite that, the firm lost: the judge in the case upheld findings by the Intellectual Property Office that the shapes JLR sought to protect weren't distinctive enough to trademark.

JLR, which has been pursuing cases to trademark the Defender’s name and exterior look for four years, first lost in court in 2019 in a long-running battle with Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe. It then lodged a high court appeal, which has now been dismissed.

During the court process JLR cited a report by Mays, who has a history of designing cars at the Volkswagen Group and BMW and served as vice-president of design at Ford for 16 years. His report cited a number of features as being unique to the Defender, including the clamshell bonnet, flat, almost vertical windscreen and 'Alpine' roof windows, which have been emulated on the Grenadier. 

Mays subsequently cited features that 'normal' SUVs have that the Defender doesn't, such as a stamped body. There are also features such as the offset spare wheel and "arrow shot" back windows that the firm claims are design traits that belong to it. 

"The resulting difference in the overall shape of the vehicle from the norms and customs of the SUV sector is clear and significant," Mays wrote in his report. "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."

The hearing officer of the original case disagreed with this argument, stating that Mays' position as a "design expert" and that "differences in design that appear important to him may be unimportant or may not even register with average consumers of passenger cars". 

Back to top

Ineos's response was to hire former Volvo and Austin Rover designer Stephen Harper, who claimed that there are a number of models in history or on sale that share the Defender's look - including the 1940s Willy's Jeep and older versions of the Mercedes G-Class.

An appeal was lodged after JLR lost the case and then dismissed by the new judge, who agreed with the original verdict.

In a statement, JLR noted its disappointment in the ruling, given that the Defender’s shape is already trademarked in a number of other markets. “The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present and future,” it said. “Its unique shape is instantly recognisable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world.”

Ineos responded by saying that the Defender’s design “does not serve as a badge of origin for JLR’s goods” and confirmed it will press ahead with plans to launch the Grenadier in 2021.

It remains unclear if the rugged off-roader will be produced in Portugal and finished in the UK, as originally planned, or if Ineos will instead purchase Daimler’s factory in Hambach, France, and move its operations there. 

READ MORE

Jaguar Land Rover loses court battle with Twisted Automotive

Ineos Grenadier is more convincing now than ever

Land Rover Defender 1983-2016 review

Join the debate

Comments
34
Add a comment…
MrJ 10 August 2020

The new JLR Defender is a

The new JLR Defender is a deliberate visual step away from the old one, so I'm not sure why the company should complain about Ineos.

 

TheDriver 10 August 2020

Sensible, rational decision

Sensible, rational decision to reject JLR's case against Ineos. The usual JLR fanboys should graciously accept this, move on, and support the Grenadier project. They won't, of course, and will just embarrass themselves with inane spiteful remarks and ill mannered insults. 

typos1 10 August 2020

TheDriver wrote:

TheDriver wrote:

Sensible, rational decision to reject JLR's case against Ineos. The usual JLR fanboys should graciously accept this, move on, and support the Grenadier project. They won't, of course, and will just embarrass themselves with inane spiteful remarks and ill mannered insults. 

I m not a JLR fan boy at all (just read lots of my posts about JLR products) but the decision is ridiculous - Inneos have clearly baltantly copied the Defender. JLR's legal team seem to have argued some weird stuff - they seemed to be making the wrong arguments, they should have just argued it was a copy.

TheDriver 10 August 2020

You could always tell JLR to

You could always tell JLR to appeal. Good luck with that.

Old But not yet Dead 7 August 2020

Defender

I think the courts are right, nothing unique about the Defender. Look at where it came from, the need for a military utilitarian vehicle that adapted well to rural life. In 50's, 60's , 70's there were dozens of similar vehicles made all over the world that looked very similar to each other. They all did the same job, so they ended up being closely related, big surprise !

The only difference is JLR kept on making it. Don't you think it slightly ludicrous JLR try to trademark it 60 years after it was introduced, and a couple years after they stopped making it. 

I don't care whether Ineos succeed or not. I am not going to buy either a Grenadier or a Defender, and neither will be " made in Britain" it seems. But really, I think JLR would want to spend their dwindling cash reserves more wisely than on lawyers fees.

jonboy4969 10 August 2020

another stupid comment, from

another stupid comment, from a stupid person, JLR's dwindling cash reserves, LOL, shows what you know, which is clearly nothing, they have significant cash in the bank to continue for many years of R & D, you clearly are a moron, as you say you do not care if they succeed or not, so you are happy haveing many tens of thousands more unemployed within the JLR company around the world, very caring of you, NOT, my Grandparents do not drive, but i showed them the rough sketch of the Landie, the ones using just a few lines of design, they both recognised it, they also said that the stolen design from IDIOTS, oops INEOS, was a Landie, so clearly the Judges have NO clue what they are talking about, INEOS, will not succeed with this heap, or he will just continue to pump in billions in a failing company, they will need to sell 100k a year minimum just to break even with all the costs they have already incurred and will continue to incur... 

Like ratcliffes chemical company, it is full of hot air...

CharlieBrown 10 August 2020

jonboy4969 wrote:

jonboy4969 wrote:

another stupid comment, from a stupid person, JLR's dwindling cash reserves, LOL, shows what you know, which is clearly nothing, they have significant cash in the bank to continue for many years of R & D, you clearly are a moron, as you say you do not care if they succeed or not, so you are happy haveing many tens of thousands more unemployed within the JLR company around the world, very caring of you, NOT, my Grandparents do not drive, but i showed them the rough sketch of the Landie, the ones using just a few lines of design, they both recognised it, they also said that the stolen design from IDIOTS, oops INEOS, was a Landie, so clearly the Judges have NO clue what they are talking about, INEOS, will not succeed with this heap, or he will just continue to pump in billions in a failing company, they will need to sell 100k a year minimum just to break even with all the costs they have already incurred and will continue to incur... 

Like ratcliffes chemical company, it is full of hot air...

JLR does not have sufficient cash reserves - or future cash flow in the near term - to fund their investment, which is why they have already delayed two significant programmes recently (electric Jaguar XJ and Defender 90) and there will be more delays and cancellations for sure

Marc 10 August 2020

Give it a rest and calm down

Give it a rest and calm down on JLR fanboy shite. You know fxxkall about anything. Get on your motability spaz wagon scooter and piss off.
jason_recliner 11 August 2020

Marc wrote:

Marc wrote:

 Get on your motability spaz wagon scooter and piss off.

This made me laugh heartily!