GM Hits Ford With Trademark Infringement Suit

Automakers disagree about having 'Cruise' in a name
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2021 5:15 PM CDT
GM Sues Ford Over Name of Hands-Free System
Ford says its hands-free technology will be ready for download in a few months.   (Getty/Rostislav_Sedlacek)

General Motors has said "not so fast" to Ford's plans to soon add a new hands-free highway driving system to vehicles. The issue is the name, BlueCruise, USA Today reports. GM finds that too close to Super Cruise, its own hands-free technology, and Cruise, the automaker's subsidiary that develops self-driving cars. GM said it raised the issue with Ford after it announced the new system in April but got nowhere; the technology is scheduled to go into use in a few months. The two companies had been holding mediated talks about resolving the issue, with a deadline of Saturday. The lawsuit accusing Ford of trademark infringement, which seeks damages and an order to make GM's rival drop the name, was filed late Friday in Northern California.

The suit argues that the name Ford chose "is likely to cause confusion" or even deceive people about whether its system is connected to GM or Cruise, per the Detroit News. It wasn't a coincidence, the filing says: "Ford knew exactly what it was doing. If Ford wanted to adopt a new, unique, brand, it easily could have done so without using the word 'Cruise.'" A Ford spokesman said GM didn't complain about other automakers' use of the word, mentioning Hyundai's Smart Cruise Control and BMW's Active Cruise Control. Calling the suit "meritless and frivolous," the spokesman said, "Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and 'cruise' is common shorthand for the capability." (Read more US automakers stories.)

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