Ford and General Motors Trademark settlement over trademarked driver-assist technology

calendar05 Nov, 2021
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
Ford and General Motors Trademark settlement over trademarked driver-assist technology

In July, the counterattack for legal conflict began when General Motors sued Ford for violating its trademarked driver-assist technology. General Motors said we were taking measures to protect our Super-Cruise brand and Cruise, the name of its self-aspiring associated Cruise LLC, after Ford in April renamed its Co-Pilot360 automated driving system as Blue Cruise. In this write-up, we will discuss how Ford and General Motors seek to resolve the trademark dispute, its background, and how the dispute got resolved?

Background of the Case- Ford and General Motors trademark settlement

In July, General Motors Company, and its subsidiary (Cruise Robo-taxi) have filed a case against Ford Company to stop using the name “Blue Cruise” to sell its hands-free driving technology.

Also, General Motors said that Ford had used the name Blue Cruise that infringes both the Cruise trademark and General Motors Super Cruise trademark.

Further, General Motors had expected to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford in a friendly way but were left with no option but to firmly defend our brands and protect the value of the products and technology that they have earned over several years in the market. Also, the carmakers had held “extended discussions” over the matter but failed to resolve the matter.

Where on one hand, General Motors were claiming trademark infringement, and unjust competition in the lawsuit and asked the court for an order to prohibit Ford from using the Blue Cruise name.

On the other hand, Ford called the legal action filed in federal court in California. Ford claimed that the drivers for ages know what cruise control is, every carmaker offers this facility to make a convenient and relaxing drive, and the ‘Cruise’ is familiar shorthand for the capability. That’s why our company has chosen the name Blue Cruise for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control.”

The Company further added that the carmakers are facing off with each other to make use of the technology to enable drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel on highway driving. The carmakers have used the word Cruise for years to characterize the cruise control systems that allow drivers to set a speed the car will maintain, usually in highway driving.

General Motors reacted to the above-mentioned statement, by saying that Ford knew what it was doing, and its decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will unavoidably cause confusion.”

Further, General Motors added that the company had announced in 2012 that it would use the name Super Cruise[1] for its hands-free driver assistance technology and has been promoting the technology using that name since 2017. Also, the Company’s lion share-owned Cruise self-driving vehicle unit has been operating since 2013.

 In 2017, General Motors introduced the first Super Cruise to the Cadillac CT6, which permits the driver to unfasten the steering wheel for a short time. Since that time, the company plans to extend and provide technology that permits cars to change lanes on their own. The company has also planned to offer this cruise facility on more models.

In the year 2020, Ford announced plans to offer Blue Cruise hands-free driving technology to the F-150 pickup, the best-selling car in the United States. Ford also claimed that the company offers Blue Cruise as a wireless software update for the Electric Mustang Mach-E.

Also, the company was providing Semi-autonomous features such as automatic driving and accident-avoidance technology. The advanced technologies offered by the company are cut-throat as automakers aim to raise prices, give their best competitors High-end demanding options, and give drivers the right to boast about technology.

What facts were considered for Ford and General Motors trademark settlement ?

Lawyers of both the companies (Ford and GM Motors) told the US federal judge that the companies are persistent to work out the terms of the settlement and will report back to the court within 60 days if the deal isn’t reached. 

The litigation began in July when General Motors sued Ford for breaching its trademarked driver-assist technology. General Motors said, the company was taking measures to safeguard its “Super-Cruise” brand and “Cruise,” then the name of its self-running associate Cruise LLC after Ford renamed its Co-Pilot360 automated driving system as “Blue Cruise”.

Ford reverted, querying the U.S. Patent and Trademark department to strip General Motors of the two trademarks. Further, Ford argued that the entire industry should be able to use the word ‘Cruise’ to represent driver-assist technologies and inquired that the agency does not typically register words and phrases used commonly. 

What finding has come that resulted in Ford and General Motors trademark settlement over the branding of Driver-assist technology?

In July, General Motors had sued Ford for violating a trademarked driver-assist technology, and General Motors had attempted to stop Ford from using the name Blue Cruise to market its hands-free driving technology. Now, the Lawyer of the companies (Ford and General Motors) told the United States judge that Ford and General Motors trademark settlement has been planned to resolve the Trademark dispute over the branding of their Driver-assist and hands-free driving technology out of court. 

Conclusion-Ford and General Motors trademark settlement

In a conclusion, the United States District Judge Susan Illston ordered the lawsuit “Dismissed without Prejudice”. As Ford and General Motors Trademark settlement over the infringement dispute was settled out of court where both the parties seek to resolve the trademark dispute Settlement over the branding of their Driver-assist technology over the Court.

Read our article:How Can You Apply For Online Trademark Registration in India?

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