Ferrari has bowed to the threat of legal action from the Ford Motor Co and has renamed its 2011 F150 Formula One cars, after the Detroit-based manufacturer claimed the name was in breach of trademark of its famous F-150 pick-up truck.
Ford filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in the US, claiming that Ferrari was trying to “capitalise on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150”, and sought unspecified damages.
Ford said having another brand’s vehicle named like one of its most popular models in the US was an infringement on its trademark (which it took out in 1995) and had the potential to dilute and damage the brand.
Ferrari unveiled its new 2011 Formula One vehicles at the end of last month. The F150 name was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy, a particularly significant cultural event for the country and one that the Italian Government declared a national holiday, for this year only.
In an attempt to avoid a serious legal confrontation, Ferrari overnight agreed to stop using the F150 name, instead using the longer, unabbreviated version: Ferrari F150th Italia.
Ford originally requested Ferrari remove F150 branding from all vehicles, posters, advertisements, signs, labels, tags and all other products.
In a statement released overnight, Ferrari explained it had sent Ford Motor Co a letter, and had made its decision to rename its 2011 campaign in an act of “good faith”.
“The F150 designation … 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.
“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.”
Ford has been using the F-150 name on its F-Series trucks for 36 years. It is yet to react to Ferrari’s response, and it is unknown whether it will continue with the lawsuit to seek damages.