Ford sues Ferrari over use of F150 name
We checked this twice to make sure it was not a hoax, but Ford in the USA really has lodged a $100,000 lawsuit against Ferrari alleging that www.ferrarifl150.com infringes cyber-squatting legislation, with respect to Ford's F-150 pick-up truck and the name of Ferrari's new F1 car.
Cyber-squatting laws are intended to prevent customers being confused by a site which, for example, has "Intent to divert to a site that could harm the trademark owner's goodwill".
We sometimes make fun of American pick-up truck owners, but just how dim does Ford think they are? What sort of person would really be confused by a website that has the word, "Ferrari" in its title and is about a racing car that is not for sale, cannot be used on the road and may never even be seen in the USA, given that the United States is no longer part of the F1 calendar?
"Well, I was looking for a pick-up for hauling logs, but I saw this here Ferrari site and it darned near tricked me into buying one." Not too likely, is it?
For its part, Ferrari said it was "speechless" and a Ford spokesman we contacted said that, "It is now a legal matter, so it is not possible to comment." Just for good measure, Ford's lawsuit also demands that Ferrari surrenders any profits earned in the United States through the use of the F150 name.
A full Ferrari statement said: "On the subject of the name of the new Ferrari Formula One car, the Maranello company wishes to point out that it has sent a letter of reply to Ford, underlining the fact that the F150 designation (used as the abbreviated version of the complete name, which is Ferrari F150th Italia) never has, nor ever will be used as the name of a commercially available product - indeed there will definitely not be a production run of single-seaters."
"In fact, it has always been the case in the history of Scuderia names, that they represent the nomenclature of a racing car project and are linked to a chronological order with a technical basis, or in exceptional cases, to special occasions.
"This year, the decision was taken to dedicate the car name to a particularly significant event, the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, an event of such great importance that the Italian government has declared, for this year only, a national holiday.
"For these reasons, Ferrari believes that its own contender in the forthcoming F1 championship cannot be confused with other types of commercially available vehicle of any sort whatsoever, nor can it give the impression that there is a link to another brand of road-going vehicle. Therefore it is very difficult to understand Ford's viewpoint on the matter.
"To further prove it is acting in good faith and that it operates in a completely correct manner, Ferrari has decided to ensure that in all areas of operation, the abbreviated version will be replaced at all times with the full version, Ferrari F150th Italia."