About a month ago, a court canceled Ferrari's trademark on the 250 GTO's unique design after it was challenged by Ares Design, a coachbuilding company that specializes in making modern interpretations of classic cars.
Now, Jaguar Land Rover has just lost its bid to trademark the design of the Defender. But why was JLR looking to trademark the Defender's shape in the UK in the first place?
Well, back in July, a company called Ineos released its own take on the Defender called the Grenadier. With its boxy exterior, circular headlights, imposing front grille, and bubble roof, it's clear that the Grenadier took inspiration from the Defender. But while it may look like a direct copy of the old Land Rover, it has an all-new platform that has no similarities to the Defender of yore.
This did not sit well with JLR who wanted to trademark the Defender's design in order for the Ineos Grenadier to not go into production. But the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) stated that the shapes that JLR sought to be protected were not unique enough. With it, the judge upheld the finds of the UK IPO, stating that while it may look significant to some specialists, the average consumer might not see it in a similar light.
With the court denying the trademark bid, Ineos is now free to make the Grenadier into a full production vehicle, much to the chagrin of Jaguar Land Rover. The company even went on to say that they were disappointed by the ruling as the Defender's shape is trademarked across several markets.
“The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present, and future. Its unique shape is instantly recognizable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world,” said JLR.
As for Ineos, the court's decision means that they can continue with their launch plans for the Grenadier. “The shape of the Defender does not serve as a badge of origin for JLR’s goods. We continue with our launch plans and are excited to bring The Grenadier to market in 2021,” said Ineos.
While the court's decision appears rational, one cannot deny that most enthusiasts see the Defender's shape as one of the most recognizable (and unique) designs in the motoring scene. But with JLR failing to trademark its shape early on, Ineos was able to take advantage of this predicament.
But can the Grenadier do one better than the Defender? We'll have to wait and see as the production of the Grenadier will only begin sometime next year.