GM sues Ford concerning Cruise name
America’s number one car manufacturer, GM, has filed a complaint against competitor Ford for the use of the name Cruise before Californian justice. In April, Ford launched a driver assistance system named BlueCruise. It gives a driver the freedom of not having to put his hands permanently on the steering wheel.
In a statement, GM said Ford’s use of the BlueCruise name infringed on GM’s Super Cruise trademark, as well as Cruise’s trademark.
“While GM had hoped to resolve the trademark infringement matter with Ford amicably, we were left with no choice but to defend our brands vigorously and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market,” GM said in its statement.
In 2016, however, GM bought a start-up named Cruise, which has become the autonomous drive specialist within GM. With Ford using the name Cruise in its new system, GM fears unfair competition.
At GM, they’re persuaded that this will lead to confusion. “No other company has the right to use the brand Cruise (and its derivatives) in the field of autonomous car technology,” GM stated. With its Cruise daughter, GM hopes to be the first manufacturer to offer autonomous driving on a large scale in the future.
Two brand names
With this move, GM wants to protect two of its own brand names, Cruise and Super Cruise. At GM, they don’t understand why Ford has changed the name of its CoPilot360 system into BlueCruise.
GM introduced Super Cruise in 2017 in the Cadillac CT6 and now has several models equipped with this technology of automatic lane changing (autonomous driving level ‘two and a half’).
In a first reaction, Ford called the lawsuit “meritless and frivolous”. “Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand for the capability,” Ford said in a statement.
“That’s why BlueCruise was chosen as the name for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control.”
Almost all manufacturers are developing autonomous driving technologies. The aim is not only to avoid accidents caused by human distraction. They also want to ask for higher prices for their products and, eventually, offer commodities the competition doesn’t propose (yet).
As the investments in such technologies cost a lot and nobody knows when the technology can be implemented – there’s not only the technology, but there are also jurisdictional consequences – tensions are rising, and small clashes like these between rivals will happen more often.