Just in case you have any confusion on the matter, allow me to clear it up: Ford’s F-150 is the best selling pickup truck in America, renown for its durability and value. Ferrari’s F150 (note the difference in spelling) is the latest F1 race car from Maranello, and it probably won’t be famous for durability or value. On the other hand, the Ferrari F150 will get around an FIA-approved road course in a whole lot less time than a Ford F-150 pickup, but won’t do you any good if you need to haul sheets of plywood. You can’t even tow a small trailer with the Ferrari, which makes it useless for weekend runs to Home Depot (not that it’s street legal in any country, anyway).
Now that we’ve cleared things up, it’s not so cut-and-dried at a corporate level. When Ferrari announced that they’d call their new F1 car the Ferrari F150 (to honor the 150th anniversary of Italy’s reunification), Ford asked them politely to change the name to avoid brand confusion. Ferrari did the Italian thing, and ignored Ford’s sternly worded request; even worse, they registered the internet domain name “ferrarif150.com”, which Ford took as a slap in the face. You can guess what came next: Ford filed a lawsuit against Ferrari requesting that they cease and desist from using the F150 name and abandon the FerrariF150 domain. Ford’s seeking unspecified damages, but the cybersquatting alone could potentially result in a $100,000 judgment for Ford.
Ford values the F-150 brand as much as the Mustang brand, and the F-150 name has been in use since 1975. Ford registered F-150 as a trademark in 1995, so it looks like things won’t end well for Ferrari. Anne Marie Gattari, a Ford spokeswoman, told The Detroit News, “This is an important trademark for us and we’ve spent many years and lots of advertising resources on establishing this name and getting the trademark. It’s one we take very, very seriously. It’s one of our flagship vehicles.”
I suppose I understand Ford’s position, but Ferrari’s use of F150 is a whole lot different than if a Chinese start-up built a low end pickup and called it the F150. No one can reasonably confuse a Formula One car with a full size pickup, and it’s not like Ferrari built a road-going car with the same name. I’m sure the courts will work it out (likely in Ford’s favor), but in the mean time Ford gets to enjoy a bit of additional exposure for the F150 brand.
Source: The Detroit News