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General Motors Sues Ford Alleging Trademark Infringement

GM has filed a lawsuit alleging that Ford has infringed on its Cruise automated driving technologies trademark.

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report has filed a lawsuit against rival automaker Ford  (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report claiming that the name of Ford's new automated driving system BlueCruise is an infringement on its Cruise registered trademark.

GM on Friday filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California seeking an injunction enjoining Ford from further use of the name BlueCruise, as well as actual and punitive damages, funds for future advertisements, disgorgement of any wrongfully obtained profits and attorneys fees.

A spokesman for Ford was not immediately available for comment.

GM, which acquired San Francisco automated vehicle company Cruise in 2016, according to court papers, obtained a federal registered trademark for Cruise in March 2020 and owns several other related trademarks including Super Cruise, Ultra Cruise, Dynacruise and Hypercruise.

Super Cruise is a GM semi-autonomous driving feature that allows for hands-free driving and has been available on the Cadillac brand since 2017. It will be expanded to 22 other GM brands this model year and next, court papers said. 

The Cruise brand is developing automated vehicles based on the Chevrolet Bolt platform and is currently testing vehicles on public roads in San Francisco. 

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Ford, according to the lawsuit, on April 14 announced that it "will begin offering its new BlueCruise hands-free highway driving system to customers" later this year.

GM asserted in the lawsuit that Ford does not have its permission or consent to use the BlueCruise name and said that Ford's use of the name for its automated driving vehicles is "likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive, as to the affiliation, connection, or association between Ford and both GM and Cruise and/or the origin, sponsorship  or approval of the parties' goods and services."

In the lawsuit, GM claimed that it took action immediately after Ford's BlueCruise announcement to try to persuade Dearborn, Mich., company to rebrand its automated driving brand, but to no avail.

The Detroit automaker said the parties engaged in protracted discussions, but Ford insisted on moving forward with the BlueCruise name despite GM asserting its preexisting rights.

The parties agreed to multiple standstill agreements while they negotiated, and GM filed its lawsuit after the most recent agreement expired, according to court papers.  

GM's shares closed on Friday down 1.2% at $54.94, while Ford's stock was down 0.6% at $13.82.   

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