Ford has asked the United States Patent and Trademark Office to rescind the trademarks given to General Motors for its Super Cruise hands-free driving system and Cruise AV subsidiary.
GM sued Ford last month over the use of the Ford BlueCruise name for its new hands-free driver-assist technology, claiming the name is an attempt to capitalize on the brand recognition of its own hands-free driving technology. GM also purchased a majority stake in San Francisco-based self-driving car company Cruise (formerly called Cruise Automation) back in 2016 and claims the BlueCruise name is attempting to capitalize on past positive press and publicity surrounding the Cruise brand.
In response to the lawsuit, Ford has requested the USPTO rescind the Cruise and Super Cruise trademarks that were previously awarded to GM.
“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, ensuring that it and the industry as a whole can freely use the word ‘cruise’ to safely describe their driver assist technologies,” the automaker said in a statement, as quoted by Automotive News.
The crux of Ford’s argument is that the term ‘cruise’ has been a catch-all term for driver assist systems since cruise control gained mass-market popularity, making BlueCruise a variation of this term rather than an attempt to capitalize on the Super Cruise brand.
“Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and “cruise” is common shorthand for the capability,” Ford spokesman Mike Levine said previously.
In a statement sent to AN this week, Darryll Harrison, GM’s director of global product development for EVs and AVs, pointed out that Super Cruise was first announced in 2012, while Cruise has existed since 2013 and was originally launched as an entirely separate entity from GM.
“GM 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,” he added.
Ford initially referred to its hands-free driving technology as ‘Active Drive Assist’ but later re-named it to BlueCruise. The BlueCruise system is set to launch this year through an over-the-air-update on 2021 Ford F-150 or Mustang Mach-E models already equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, though it’s not clear if the lawsuit will delay the rollout.
We’ll provide an update on GM’s lawsuit against Ford as it progresses through the courts in the coming months.