GM, Cruise sue Ford over use of BlueCruise name
Detroit — General Motors Co. and Cruise, its majority-owned autonomous vehicle company, are suing Ford Motor Co. over its use of the name BlueCruise.
GM and Cruise, in a late Friday filing in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, claim Ford did "not have the permission or consent of Cruise or GM to use “BlueCruise,”
and Ford has no corporate relationship, affiliation, or sponsorship with Cruise or GM."
GM contends that the use of "BlueCruise," which is the name of Ford's hands-free driver assistance technology "is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive, as to the affiliation, connection, or association between Ford and both GM and Cruise."
The automaker is seeking damages for "Ford's unlawful conduct," and asking the court to issue a judgement that the Dearborn automaker "infringed Cruise’s and GM’s federal and common law trademark rights."
Ford introduced the BlueCruise technology in April this year. GM said in its filing that it "quickly took action after Ford’s announcement to try to persuade Ford to rebrand its unreleased enhancement, but to no avail."
Ford spokesman Mike Levine called the Cruise and GM claim "meritless and frivolous," in a statement.
"Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and “cruise” is common shorthand for the capability," Levine said. "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."
Outside of Cruise, GM also uses the name Super Cruise for its self-driving technology and said Ford’s use of BlueCruise "is likely to cause irreparable harm to Cruise, GM, and their related CRUISE and Super Cruise brands."
GM's Super Cruise technology was announced in 2012 and has been used commercially since 2017, the automaker noted in a statement. Cruise has been in business since 2013.
"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," GM spokesman Darryll Harrison said in a statement. "As this is a matter of pending litigation, we have no further comments at this time."