General Motors (GM) and its subsidiary Cruise, a self-driving car developer, filed a lawsuit on Friday against Ford claiming that Ford’s BlueCruise name was too similar to that of GM’s Super Cruise trademark and Cruise’s trademark.
In April, Ford introduced BlueCruise, a hands-free highway driving system for some of its vehicles. GM’s Super Cruise refers to its hands-free driving assistance feature, which has been included in Cadillac cars since 2017 and was advertised as early as 2012, according to the lawsuit.
“Ford’s decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will inevitably cause confusion between the parties, the affiliation, connection, or association between them, and/or origin, sponsorship, or approval of their goods and services,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to the lawsuit, GM, Cruise and Ford “engaged in protracted discussions” following Ford’s announcement, “but Ford insisted on moving forward with the ‘BlueCruise’ name despite Cruise’s preexisting rights.”
GM and Cruise are asking for Ford to pay monetary damages related to the incident and for the manufacturer to stop using the BlueCruise name.
In a statement filed early Saturday, GM said, "While GM had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford amicably, we were left with no choice but to vigorously defend our brands and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market," according to Reuters.
In an emailed statement to The Hill, Ford said, "We think GM Cruise’s claim from is meritless and frivolous. Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and 'cruise' is common shorthand for the capability."
"That’s why BlueCruise was chosen as the name for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which incorporates hands-free Blue Zones and other advanced cruise-control features," the company continued.
The company added that GM had not raised concerns about the word "cruise" being used with other companies' trademarks and driving technology systems.
The Hill has reached out to GM for comment.
Updated Sunday 3:06 p.m.