Ford Motor Co sued Ferrari for trademark infringement after the Italian sports car maker named its 2011 Formula 1 racing car the F150.
The name has been a trademark of the Detroit-based car manufacturer since 1975 when it introduced the F-150 truck, which has seen sales exceed $180 billion since 1997.
Ferrari has attempted to capitalize on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark by using the confusingly similar vehicle name “F150”, Ford said in the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Ferrari recently misappropriated the famous Ford F-150 trademark in announcing Ferrari's 2011 Formula 1 racing car which Ferrari named the “ F150,” and is beginning to promote the Ferrari “F150” and related products and merchandise, Ford said.
Indeed, on January 25, 2011, Ferrari's website announced that “Ferrari's new Formula 1 car [was] to be called F150.” On January 28, 2011, Ferrari broadcast the introduction of the F150” on its WWW.FERRARI.COM website, reporting that “Two million people from 149 countries followed the event” including the United States.
In the complaint, Ford also said Ferrari recently registered the Internet domain name http://www.ferrarif150.com/ where Ferrari operates an interactive website that, among other things, links to the online Ferrari Store.
According to Ford, although Ferrari asserts that the naming of the “F150” is to honor the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy, the objective evidence demonstrates that Ferrari is seeking to misappropriate the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the famous F-150 trademark.
As a direct and proximate result of Ferrari's conduct, Ford said it is entitled to damages, including statutory damages in the amount of $100,000.00 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, as well as Ford's attorneys fees and costs.
According to the complaint, Ford and Ferrari have a legendary history as rivals in auto racing.
Ford said it seeks a permanent injunction enjoining Ferrari's unauthorized misappropriation of Ford's F-150 trademark and colorable imitations thereof, damages under the Lanham Act including treble damages, statutory damages, and other damages, and Ford's attorneys' fees and costs incurred in bringing this action.
Since the 1975 model year, Ford said it has used the famous F-150 trademark in connection with its flagship, full-size pick-up truck. Indeed, on or about May 9, 1995, Ford first obtained a United States Trademark Registration for F-150. Ford said the F-150 vehicle is the best seller in its F -SERIES line of trucks, the best selling trucks in the United States since 1978 and the best selling vehicles (car or truck) in the United States since 1983.