Ford Wins Over Ferrari In Formula One

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
ford wins over ferrari in formula one

In the brouhaha over Ferrari’s alleged trademark violation, Ferrari did the smart thing and surrendered. Ferrari withdrew the “F150” name for its new Formula One race car. Ford had brought suit in federal court, alleging that “Ferrari has misappropriated the F-150 trademark in naming its new racing vehicle the ‘F150′ in order to capitalize on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark.”

Ferrari had maintained that the name had nothing to do whatsoever with Ford’s bestselling truck, saying that “the choice of name stems from Ferrari’s desire to pay tribute to this year’s one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Unification of Italy.”

Faced by an army of Ford lawyers, Ferrari went into reverse. According to IANS/AKI ( via Sify), Ferrari will now call the racer “Ferrari F150th Italia.”

Nevertheless, Ferrari continues to profess its innocence: “Ferrari retains that there can be no way to confuse the one-seater…or even think that there would be a link with another brand,” Ferrari said in a statement. “It seems really difficult to understand what has been expressed by Ford.”

Let’s see whether Ford’s legal pit bulls will let go, or whether they will lay claim to the number 150, especially in an f-word. Stranger things have happened.

Join the conversation
8 of 33 comments
  • Jeff Semenak Jeff Semenak on Feb 12, 2011

    How about the Chevy Beretta ? "General Motors was sued by Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta for trademark infringement over the naming of the Beretta. The suit was settled out-of-court in 1989; GM and Beretta exchanged symbolic gifts: a Beretta GTU coupe and a pair of Beretta shotguns. GM donated US$ 500,000 to a Beretta-sponsored charity which was also affiliated with the GM Cancer Research Foundation." From

  • Herb Herb on Feb 12, 2011

    As a consumer protectionist I can only hail this decision. Imagine, what could go wrong in cases that someone orders a F150 via phone, as he you usually does, and then get a Ferrari instead or vice verse. Unaware customers are safe now. Praise the legal staff at Ford! P.S. Does anyone remember the legal reasoning why Microsoft was not successful in trademarking the word "Word"?

    • M 1 M 1 on Feb 12, 2011

      For most of their products, Microsoft relies on something called "common law trademark," which is sort of an automatic granting of trademark if you can successfully argue that most people would consider the association obvious. Office is certainly an example of that, although I'm not sure Word would be, except maybe in print when capitalized.

  • Roger628 Roger628 on Feb 12, 2011

    Ford has been burned this way before-They lost the rights to the Futura name to Pep Boys a few years ago because they were asleep at the switch-The Fusion was originally going to be called Futura until they got the word.

  • Narf Narf on Feb 13, 2011

    Hyundai went through this before too, hence when the Elantra was introduced, it was called the Lantra in Europe. Apparently, Lotus thought folks would be confused between a sporty 2-door roadster a dowdy compact 4-door sedan. Ironically, it continued even when Lotus stopped producing them. Instead, it was Kia that was complaining.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 13, 2011

      Hyundai's made a lot more money using the Elantra name than Lotus ever would have.