Ferrari Is Suing Again: This Time For a Used Car Dealer Owning a Replica
Let’s be honest, Ferrari launches lawsuits around intellectual property rights ad nauseam. From customers to dealers and competing automakers, Ferrari is in court like you and I wash our cars. The latest installment of Ferrari’s habitual court actions is over a dealer having a replica F430 Scuderia. This wasn’t a Ferrari dealership but rather a Spanish used car dealer.
The fake Ferrari was one of those Ford Cougar kit cars. Of course, in the U.S., they were Mercury Cougars. Most came with the 2.5-liter V6 pumping out a puny 170 hp. Naturally, to Ferrari, this was the desecration of a shrine, but is it illegal?
Did Ferrari or the replica owner win the court case?
Back in 2018, the car dealer in Arteixo, A Coruña, was planning on using it as a promotional tool. It sat on the lot for only 12 days before police seized it. Ferrari then sought criminal charges, according to Periodismo Del Motor. In its lawsuit Ferrari was demanding $2.2 million and that the dealer serve a year in prison.
If Ferrari’s demands seem overblown, the court’s ruling confirms that perception. First, the dealer didn’t perform the modifications. And the dealer’s intent was to keep it, not sell it. Lastly, any buyers serious about purchasing any sort of Ferrari can see the differences immediately. In the end, the dealer was found not guilty.
Does Ferrari go to extremes protecting intellectual property?
“It’s quite unusual for an intellectual property case to escalate into criminal proceedings,” attorney María Muiño González told El Pais. “The emblems were crude, and you could clearly see that they were basic stickers. Furthermore, there were no plans to sell it, he had it in his possession for only 12 days before it was seized.”
Ferrari has always had a zeal for going after what it considers those infringing on its trademarks and designs. That’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it will go to extremes. One of the most notorious was its lawsuit against 458 Spyder owner Joel Zimmerman.
His 458 had a graphic wrap with images of Nyan cat, an animated GIF. Ferrari said it was trademark infringement and “dilution of the brand.” The company went so far as to revoke a lease Zimmerman had on a second Ferrari. Ultimately, the settlement outside of court includes removing the wrap.
Do these Ferrari lawsuits hurt public perception?
After an F40 Barchetta crashed in a race, it was sold to Jen Beurlys Blaton. He rebuilt it as a convertible featuring a number of other modifications. Ferrari went after Blaton over violating intellectual property rights and damaging its value. The Belgian courts found in favor of Ferrari, requiring the owner to remove all Ferrari badges in addition to a sizeable fine.
There are many more cases like these, but this is just a sampling. Ferrari gets serious about protecting its brand, which many times stomps on artistic or personal preferences. But most Ferrari owners are solidly behind the Maranello automaker, nonetheless.