Ineos Grenadier was supposed to be a Defender, rather than a copy
Billionaire wanted an off-roader that kept the Rover’s skillset
The original boxy Land Rover Defender is one of the most recognized shapes in the automotive world, at least in the markets where it was sold. But the automaker has just lost a court bid to get the trademark rights on that now-discontinued shape, allowing a new company to go ahead with what is largely a copy of the classic Landie.
The battle between Defender and Grenadier started back in 2016, when Jaguar Land Rover stopped making the Defender after 67 years. Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe tried to buy the tooling to make a continuation of the vehicle and JLR said no. So Ratcliffe decided to build his own, dubbed the Ineos Grenadier.
Since the Grenadier didn’t look much different from the Defender, JLR went to the UK Intellectual Property Office, and then to UK court. In the company’s latest appeal, Automotive News reports, the court found against JLR. The judge in the case upheld the IP office’s findings that the differences between Defender and Grenadier “may be unimportant, or may not even register, with average consumers.” That’s even if they’re readily apparent to any car spotters.
In short, it’s not that they look the same, it’s partly because they look the same. The IP Office had found that the difference and the shapes of the Defender weren’t distinct enough.
The Ineos Grenadier, now expected to be powered by BMW six-cylinder engines, is still looking for a factory after reports Ineos was looking to buy the former Smart factory in France rather than setting up production in Wales as previously expected.