Trademarks and copyrights are extremely common in the automotive business, so they only make news when they could be indicative of an upcoming product or feature. That changed late last month when General Motors sued Ford Motor Company over its use of the “BlueCruise” name. GM stated that it believed Ford’s use of the name was too close to its existing trademarks on the terms “Super Cruise” and “Cruise.” However, Ford isn’t taking the legal action lying down, and has taken interesting action of its own.
In late July, we reported that General Motors’ complaint was over The Blue Oval’s use of the “BlueCruise” name for its brand of semi-autonomous driving features. Now, however, Ford is fighting back. The automaker claims that GM’s trademarks for the terms “Super Cruise” and “Cruise” should have never been issued in the first place because so many other automakers use those terms, or slight variations on it, in their vehicle naming conventions.
Ford notes that names like “Smart Cruise Control” from Hyundai and “Autocruise” from component manufacturer ZF are proof that trademarks for names including the term “Cruise” should be erased. General Motors’ response noted that its Super Cruise technology has been around since 2017. The automaker also said that it is committed to defending its brands and the equity its products and tech have earned in the time since then.
There’s no telling where this will end up, or where a court decision will ultimately fall on the subject. It’s an interesting battle, even for those of us with zero legal background, because Ford, GM, and nearly every other automaker on earth is working toward a fully-electric and an at least partially autonomous future, so it’s likely we’ll see more battles arise over which company owns a specific term or name.