Friday, February 11, 2011

Ford Sues Ferrari Over F150 Formula 1 Car Moniker, the Italians Hastily Change it to the F150th Italia

In order to celebrate the 150 years that have passed since the unification of Italy, Ferrari recently chose to name its newest Formula 1 car the “F150”. It seems that Ford wasn’t too impressed with the patriotic gesture and sued the Italian maker over the race car's moniker. The Blue Oval claimed that it closely resembled its own F-150 nameplate, thus causing “irreparable harm” to the trademark.

According to the paperwork filed in Detroit, the lawsuit also referred to Ferrari’s website and accused the Italian company of cyber theft and trademark infringement.

Ford aimed to prevent the use of the F150 name in the United States, and expected Ferrari to give up any revenue and profits earned through the disputed nameplate in the States.

Furthermore, under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which protects against trademark infringement due to the use of confusing Internet domain names, Ford wanted $100,000 in damages.

However, Ferrari reacted quickly and today changed the F1 car's name to the “F150th Italia”, which was first used in a routine Formula 1 test report posted on the Ferrari website.

The report stated that “the first day of testing for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro got off on the right foot at the Cheste circuit, near Valencia. Before the lunch break, Fernando Alonso completed just over 200 kilometers at the wheel of the Ferrari F150th Italia”.

Later on, Ferrari released an official statement as well, available below.

By Csaba Daradics

[Ferrari Press Release] The name of the new Ferrari Formula 1 car

Maranello, 10th February - On the subject of the name of the new Ferrari Formula 1 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.

Despite this and 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.

Sources: Ferrari, Detnews & Autoweek

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