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Ford Counterattacks GM in Trademark Infringement Case

Ford Counterattacks GM in Trademark Infringement Case

Ford stated in April that the “Blue Cruise” hands-free driving technology will be offered starting with the 2021 model year F-150 pickup and Mustang Mach E crossovers. General Motors, on the other hand, has objected to Ford’s naming decision. According to a Reuters report, GM and its autonomous-taxi company Cruise filed a lawsuit in federal court of California on Friday to prohibit Ford from using the Blue Cruise name.

GM claims the term infringes on its trademarks for Super Cruise, its own hands-free driving technology, and Cruise, an autonomous car subsidiary. GM also accuses Ford of unfair competition in the case, and asks the court to stop Ford from using the Blue Cruise moniker and pay unspecified penalties. “We had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford peacefully,” GM said in a statement, but after failing to do so, the company “had no option but to forcefully defend our trademarks and safeguard the equity our products and technologies have acquired over numerous years in the market.”

Ford defended its naming choice in a statement, calling the case “meritless and frivolous” and claiming that “drivers have known what cruise control is for decades, every carmaker offers it, and the term ‘cruise’ is standard shorthand for the feature.”

Ford also listed other cruise-related technologies, such as BMW AG’s Active Cruise Control, Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control, and Mack Trucks’ Predictive Cruise, claiming that “GM has had no issue with other ‘cruise’ designations.” Ford compared the scenario to GM attempting to claim trademark rights of terms like hybrid and turbo.

According to Reuters, the complaint accuses Ford of malicious intent, claiming that “Ford knew what it was doing” and “If Ford had intended to create a new, unique brand, it could easily have done it without using the word “cruise.”

“Ford’s choice to rebrand by utilizing a core mark used by GM and Cruise will certainly cause confusion. “Super Cruise” term was initially announced by GM in 2012, and the technology appeared in GM automobiles in 2017. Cruise has been around since 2013, and GM bought the self-driving brand in 2016.