Jaguar Land Rover felt so strongly about its ownership of the Defender's shape that it hired the former Ford Motor design chief J Mays to present its case to a UK court.
Ultimately, JLR still lost.
The British automaker has been locked in a legal battle with the British chemicals giant Ineos since it decided to build a lookalike version of the Defender after Land Rover discontinued production of the model in 2016.
Although Land Rover has rolled out a modern replacement for the Defender, it saw Ineos's plans as a threat to its heritage. Therefore, JLR tried to register the shape of the original short-wheelbase Defender 90 and the longer Defender 110 as a trademark.
Ineos challenged the move. The case went to court in June 2019 and Land Rover.
It appealed but lost again in March, the result of which has just been published.
The company said it has not given up the fight, but declined to say whether it would file another appeal.
“We will take whatever decisions we think are needed to protect our design,” a spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
Ineos has subsequently revealed a car that Ineos’ owner, the billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, called the “son of Defender.”
Many of the Defender’s design features are present in the Ineos Grenadier, including the clamshell hood, the so-called “Alpine” windows in the roof and flat windshield.
It was these features that Mays, who retired as Ford's head of design in 2013, highlighted in a report for JLR that it used to plead its case in the original October hearing.