Ford has filed a motion asking the US District Court in San Francisco to dismiss a lawsuit from rival GM over Ford’s BlueCruise self-driving feature. Last month, GM filed a trademark infringement lawsuit claiming that the name BlueCruise was too close to Super Cruise, the name of GM’s hands-free driving tech, which it introduced in 2017, as well as its autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise.
Ford said in its motion that the term “cruise” has been been in “ubiquitous use” over the past 50 years to refer to driver-assist features. “Consumers understand “cruise” to refer to a feature in their vehicle that performs part of the driving task or assists them in driving, and they do not associate that term with any one company or brand,” Ford argued in its complaint.
In its lawsuit filed July 23rd, GM said the two the companies had been involved in “protracted discussions” over the name but were unable to come to agreement. “Ford knew exactly what it was doing,” GM alleged in its complaint, adding that if Ford “wanted to adopt a new, unique brand, it easily could have done so without using the word ‘Cruise.’”
Ford announced BlueCruise as the name for its hands-free driver assist feature in April, and said it would begin pushing the feature via an over-the-air software update to select vehicles this year.
A spokesperson for Ford said in an email to The Verge on Saturday that the company considered GM’s trademark claims “meritless and frivolous,” adding that for decades drivers “have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand” for such features. In addition to seeking to have GM’s case thrown out, Ford has petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office to rescind GM’s trademark of “Cruise” and “Super Cruise,” the spokesperson added.
A GM spokesperson said in an email to The Verge on Monday that the company “remains committed to vigorously defending our brands and protecting the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market and that won’t change.” The spokesperson noted that GM’s Super Cruise was introduced in 2012, and has had “a well-established commercial presence since 2017.” Its Cruise self-driving subsidiary has been in business since 2013, the GM spokesperson added.
Update August 14th, 5:54PM ET: Adds statement from Ford spokesperson
Update August 16th, 1:52PM ET: Added statement from GM spokesperson