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Ford is in a little hot water with GM and Cruise. The brand has filed a patent for new driver assistance software by the name of BlueCruise. Surely, Ford is cracking jokes with that name, likely while wearing a green sweater and petting a blue dog. Evidently, GM and its subsidiary Cruise aren’t fond of the joking and have filed a lawsuit against Ford for use of the BlueCruise name.

BlueCruise is the latest in driver assist technology

A cross-section of Cruise's driverless software fitted to a Chevy Bolt,
Cruise’s driver assistance hardware | Cruise

Automakers are in constant competition over having the latest in technology in their vehicles. That’s exactly how autonomous driving company Cruise became embroiled in all this. GM acquired Cruise back in 2016 to help the brand develop its own hands-free driving software to rival the likes of Tesla. Cruise has been pushing the tech since before their acquisition by GM, and it can be said that Crusie has contributed directly to the development of GM’s own hands-free driving software, Super Cruise.

By now I’m sure you’re seeing the similarities in the names here, but we’ll get into that later. For now, it’s important to understand something first. In light of the competitive market space surrounding driver assistance software at the moment, it’s plain to see why Ford rushed into the marketplace with this software. Different brands are fighting to catch up in the autonomous arms race, and Ford is the latest in the ring with BlueCruise.

GM says Ford infringed on their trademark

The GM logo, the brand suing Ford over use of it's BlueCruise software
GM’s logo | Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Now, about that lawsuit. According to a Reuter’s article, GM and Cruise say that Ford has infringed on the brand’s Super Cruise trademark. It’s important to note that GM only takes issue with the name. It’s clear the brand thinks that Ford has not done any wrong in developing its own autonomous driving software. Per the statement, GM says that they were “vigorously defend our brands and protect the equity our products and technology have earned over several years in the market.”

While that may just sound like a lot of saber-rattling, GM is clearly serious about the infringement. They believe that the name is too similar to Super Cruise, and intend to do something about it. Conversely, Ford says that the lawsuit is “meritless and frivolous.” Clearly, this shows the brand’s intention to stand its ground over the BlueCruise name. As things sit right now, GM is seeking damages over the infringement of their trademark.

Market space for autonomous vehicles is shrinking

One of Cruise's driverless Chevy Bolt vehicles
A Crusie driverless taxi | Andrej Sokolow via Getty Images

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Honestly, this was bound to happen sooner rather than later. Brands are competing fiercely for a slice of that post-pandemic economy right now, and autonomous software is rapidly becoming a huge selling point for consumers. Year after year, consumers expect better automobiles, and autonomous software is the most recent development of that trend. For now, it remains to be seen who will back down. In all likelihood, money will change hands and Ford will be allowed to continue using the BlueCruise name. Let’s just hope you don’t have to use a red notepad to make BlueCruise work.