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Episode 23: The Patent Baron – GM vs Ford: TM Dispute Settled!

GM and Ford Face Off over Trademark — Howell, MI — The Patent Baron

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Episode 23: The Patent Baron – GM vs Ford: TM Dispute Settled!

In this podcast, I update the TM dispute between GM and Ford over the term “cruise”. As a reminder, GM obtained a US TM on the term “SuperCruise” for use with their autonomous vehicle (AV) system. Ford, meanwhile, had used another term to describe their AV system which did not use the term “cruise”. More recently, however, Ford decided to rename/rebrand their AV system to “BlueCruise”. Ford did not obtain US TM protection.

As you may have expected, GM objected and reached out to Ford, through their lawyers of course. After some (no doubt interesting) discussions, both sides were unable to reach an agreement. As a result, GM filed suit in US federal court seeking to stop Ford from using BlueCruise as it was, in their opinion, infringing on their registered US TM. (As a reminder, like patents, trademarks are enforced by their owners, not the federal government). Ford disagreed, and sought to invalidate GM’s US TM “SuperCruise”.

Recently, both sides announced that the dispute had been settled before any legal conclusions were reached. In this podcast, I discuss possible reasons why they settled and lessons to be learned.

Janet V. Hallahan — Howell, MI — The Patent Baron

I discuss:

  • Summary of the GM v Ford TM dispute
  • Strategies of both GM and Ford
  • Why they decided to settle and possible outcomes if fully litigated
  • Lessons to be learned for all trademark owners, marketing departments, and those seeking to brand their products.

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