Land Rover loses trademark appeal against ‘copycat’ Ineos Grenadier

Land Rover’s attempt to trademark the Defender design in the UK has been unsuccessful, clearing the path for the start-up Ineos Grenadier.

Land Rover has lost an appeal in the United Kingdom High Court in its attempt to trademark the original design of the Land Rover Defender.

This decision comes after Land Rover appealed the decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office, when it found the design is not distinctive enough.

In those proceedings – Land Rover versus the Ineos Group, which recently unveiled the Grenadier off-roader – both car makers presented evidence through hand-picked expert witnesses.

The findings said that while the original design of the Land Rover Defender might be significant to some specialists, it also “may be unimportant, or may not even register, with average consumers.”

Ineos Automotive has made no secret of the Grenadier’s inspiration, which comes squarely from the design and demise of the original Land Rover Defender.

With an all-new Defender now released on a more modern and complex platform, the Ineos Grenadier is poised to fill the gap left with the departure of the more utilitarian version of the original Land Rover.

While the new Land Rover Defender carries a throng of new technologies such an aluminium chassis, independent air suspension, and over-the-air updates, the Ineos Grenadier will utilise time-honoured components the old Land Rover Defender used: live axles and coil springs on a steel ladder chassis.

In a statement, Land Rover expressed its disappointment in the court’s findings.

“The Land Rover Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Land Rover’s past, present and future,” the company said. “Its unique shape is instantly recognisable and signifies the Land Rover brand around the world.”

In response, Ineos said the finding proves the boxy design of the Defender “does not serve as a badge of origin for (Land Rover’s) goods” and said it is still on track to launch the new Grenadier four-wheel-drive in late 2021.

The new generation Defender is now available in Australia and has already clocked up 64 sales in July, making it the best-selling car in Land Rover’s range.

Ineos has previously told CarAdvice the Grenadier will be coming to Australia, with an arrival likely in 2022.

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