General Motors filed suit against Ford Motor Co. over the use of the word “Cruise.”
GM claims Ford’s use of the word Cruise in its “BlueCruise” for its self-driving subscription service violates the trademark GM has established with “Cruise,” its automated vehicle subsidiary and GM’s “Super Cruise,” a hands-free driver assistance system, according to The Hill, a website dedicated to covering news around Congress and the federal government.
Ford unveiled its BlueCruise subscription-based service in April and is rolling it out on a small number of vehicles, though Ford CEO Jim Farley has said he expects it to grow.
Other automakers have or are planning to unveil self-driving automation features on vehicles in next couple of years. Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot has been blamed for several accidents including fatal mishaps, while CEO Elon Musk has admitted building a system capable of driving a vehicle is very difficult.
GM says it asked Ford to rebrand
“Ford’s decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will inevitably cause confusion between the parties, the affiliation, connection, or association between them, and/or origin, sponsorship, or approval of their goods and services,” the company said in filing.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco where GM’s self-driving enterprise is testing the system without safety drivers, The Hill reported.
According to the lawsuit, GM, Cruise and Ford “engaged in protracted discussions” following Ford’s announcement, “but Ford insisted on moving forward with the ‘BlueCruise’ name despite Cruise’s preexisting rights.”
GM and Cruise are asking for Ford to pay monetary damages related to the incident and for the manufacturer to stop using the BlueCruise name.
“While GM had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford amicably, we were left with no choice but to vigorously defend our brands and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market,” according to Reuters.
Ford denies GM’s claim
In an emailed statement to The Hill, Ford said, “We think GM Cruise’s claim from is meritless and frivolous. Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand for the capability.
“That’s why BlueCruise was chosen as the name for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which incorporates hands-free Blue Zones and other advanced cruise-control features,” Ford’s statement continued. The word cruise is broadly used in automotive culture and the judge may to decide with the word is a generic open to use by everyone or the narrower term that applies to a specific product.