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Ford Settles a Lawsuit with Ferrari

It has recently been reported that Ford has settled a lawsuit it filed against Ferrari regarding Ferrari’s use of the F150 name. Apparently, Ferrari had named its Formula One race car, which it plans to use during the 2011 season, the F150. According to Ferrari, the F150 name was employed in honor of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

Ford brought suit in Detroit to protect its trademark in the F150 brand. Ford claimed that the naming of the race car could cause confusion between it and its production truck the Ford F150. Ferrari countered by claiming that there would not be confusion between a specialty race car that is not available for purchase and a production pickup truck. After litigation was commenced Ferrari relented and decided to refer to the vehicle by its full name: Ferrari F150th Italia.

Since the case was settled the Court never took up the question regarding whether or not there would be confusion. In any case, this is a classic case of jealously protecting a trademark. As is often the case both sides agreed that the right thing to do was to settle the case before it got uglier.