General Motors filed a lawsuit against Ford for using the word “cruise” in BlueCruise. GM has both “Super Cruise” and its subsidiary Cruise trademarked. If you’re not familiar with GM’s Cruise you’re not alone. Cruise is GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary it acquired in 2016.
What is BlueCruise, Super Cruise, and Cruise?
Super Cruise is GM’s hands-free feature used in the 2021 Cadillac Escalade. It will be available in the GMC Hummer and Sierra, Chevy Silverado pickups, and other models in the near future. Ford introduced its BlueCruise hands-free driving feature in April.
Apparently, GM, Cruise, and Ford have been “engaged in protracted discussions” over the BlueCruise name. GM says that BlueCruise is too close to both Cruise and Super Cruise trademarks. GM has been using the Super Cruise name since its release in 2017 Cadillacs but has referenced the name since 2012.
“Ford’s decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will inevitably cause confusion between the parties, the affiliation, connection, or association between them, and/or origin, sponsorship, or approval of their goods and services,” states the lawsuit. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is where the lawsuit was filed.
“BlueCruise was chosen for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control”
“We think GM Cruise’s claim is meritless and frivolous,” Ford says in a statement to The Hill. “Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is. Every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand for the capability. That’s why BlueCruise was chosen as the name for the Blue Oval’s next evolution of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control. It incorporates hands-free Blue Zones and other advanced cruise-control features.”
Ford’s statement went on to say that GM has never found a problem with other companies using cruise in their trademarks and driving systems. The lawsuit says that “Ford insisted on using the ‘BlueCruise’ name despite Cruise’s preexisting rights.”
GM wants Ford to stop using BlueCruise, and mmonetary damages
Besides wanting Ford to stop using the BlueCruise name, it is asking for monetary damages. “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 said according to Reuters.
Interestingly, doing a US Patent and Trademark search for “BlueCruise” turns up nothing. It seems odd that Ford wouldn’t have trademarked the word before it was released. Maybe because it is a made-up compound word Ford didn’t feel it needed to trademark it? It will be interesting to see how this plays out.