JLR loses Defender trademark case against Sir Ratcliffe

Sir. Ratcliffe, who is planning to build the Grenadier in Bridgend in South Wales, has been locked in a long-term battle with JLR over the Defender’s design, on which he has had designs for several years.

The Sunday Times recently reported that Sir. Ratcliffe, the founder of Ineos, had won his challenge to JLR’s attempt to trademark the Defender’s shape.

Ineos said that it would treat the Defender’s “much-loved shape like a listed building”. The project is designed to fill the gap left by JLR’s car, which ceased production in 2016 because the model no longer met modern environmental and safety standards.

Initially, Sir. Ratcliffe tried to buy manufacturing equipment for the Defender from Jaguar Land Rover, but that was rejected. The company, which is a subsidiary of Indian automotive firm Tata Motors, then sought to trademark six variants, from the original 1948 model to the 2016 edition.

However, last month the Intellectual Property Office decided that the Defender’s shape was not different enough from that of other 4×4 models for a trademark to be justified. 

JLR is obviously, fiercely protective of its Defender. In 2016, it prevented a Canadian company from using the name ‘Defender’ for an all-terrain vehicle.  They are fighting the verdict in the High Court. The company said: “The Defender is an iconic vehicle which is part of Jaguar Land Rover’s past, present, and future”.

“Its unique shape is recognised around the world, with the heritage shape being protected in other key markets.”

Should the Jaguar Land Rover ‘Defenders’ have a protected trademark? What do you think? Leave your comment in the box below.


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