F150 Truck / F1 Ferrari Confusion Ended – Phew!

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Now I thought I had been pretty scathing in my original blogpost about Ford suing Ferrari over the similarity of the name of their pickup truck to Ferrari’s 2011 F1 contender. But I was positively reserved compared with Ferrari’s official statement about the settling of the lawsuit with another name change for their race car. (I have Italicized – pun intended – my favorite passages for your delectation):

It might seem like a Kafkaesque scenario, but the affair relating to the name of the car with which Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa will tackle this year’s Formula 1 World Championship saw its final and decisive episode played out these past few days with the concomitant withdrawal by Ford of the summons.

Therefore common sense has prevailed. In order to avoid the slightest risk of anyone confusing a Formula 1 car with a pick-up truck, for their part, the men from Maranello have decided that the car will lose the F that precedes the number 150 and which stands for Ferrari, as it has done on numerous occasions when it’s come to giving a car a code name, be it for the race track or the road. It appears that this could have caused so much confusion in the minds of the consumer across the Pond that, at the same time as losing the F, the name will be completely Italianised, replacing the English “th” with the equivalent Italian symbol.

Therefore the name will now read as the Ferrari 150° Italia, which should make it clear even to the thickest of people that the name of the car is a tribute to the anniversary of the unification of our country. Let’s hope the matter is now definitely closed and that we can concentrate on more serious matters, namely ensuring that our car that already seems to be pretty good out of the box, becomes a real winner.

I understand that corporations are expected to defend their trademarks or else the courts could take the view in the future that the corporation in question is not really interested in having sole use of this word for its own branding purposes. Thus, Google is constantly jumping on the generic use of “google” or “googling” to mean to use a search information to look for information.

However, this is one of those instances where flimsy legal reasoning has lead to corporate humiliation and resultant damage to Ford’s brand, and is a good example of why a CEO should lead a company and not a committee of lawyers.

Now, what’s this? News just in: Ferrari is counter-suing Ford for seeking to benefit from the goodwill of the prancing pony by having a galloping horse as the symbol of its Mustang model. Ferrari is also requiring Ford to cease using the name “pony car” in reference to this model.

Just kidding… or am I? Stranger things have happened!

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