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Ford Appeals To US Patent Office To Annul GM’s Trademark Of The “Cruise” Word

Ford Appeals To US Patent Office To Annul GM’s Trademark Of The “Cruise” Word
Ford Motor Co sought to escalate its battle with General Motors Co which had sued Ford for allegedly using the term "Blue Cruise" for an automated driving system with Ford saying it will approach the United States Patent Office with a plea to annul the trademarks that have been granted to rival GM for the terms "Cruise" and "Super Cruise".
At the centre of the legal tussle between the two US auto giants is the word “cruise” and whether is it a generic term for technology that denotes a car taking over some of e driving tasks from a human at the wheels of the vehicle.
This tussle highlights the extent of rivalry between established auto companies to be viewed as leaders in the field of automated driving technology along with their competition in this area with other Silicon Valley firms like Tesla Inc and Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit.
In a federal suit filed by GM on July 24, Ford was accused of violation of trademarks owned by GM as Ford used the term "Blue Cruise" in its marketing a system developed by it for its cars that allows hands-free driving. read more
The hands free and partially automated driving technology developed by GM was described by the company as "Super Cruise" and had obtained a trademark for the term. The company had also obtained a trademark for the word "Cruise" as the name it had given to its robo-taxi unit in San Francisco.
Its position that GM's suit is frivolous, Ford reiterated on Friday. The legal tussle between the two companies has now reached a new level with Ford trying to annul the trademarks of  GM that use the word "cruise".
"To defend itself, Ford has no choice but to ask the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rescind both of GM’s “Cruise” and “Super Cruise” trademark registrations that should have never been registered in the first place," Ford said. "Any number of companies use the word 'cruise' in connection with driver assist technology."
In the latest appeal to the Patent Office, Ford also pointed out the use of the word “cruise” by a number of other auto companies including the use of "Predictive Cruise" as marketed by Mack Trucks, the use of the phrase "Smart Cruise Control" as found in the marketing materials of Hyundai Motor Co, and “Autocruise” that is used by auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Super Cruise "has had a well established commercial presence since 2017,"GM said Friday. The company "remains committed to vigorously defending our brands and protecting the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market and that won’t change," Ford further said in the statement.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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