The brawl over trademarks for the word ‘cruise’ is becoming ugly. GM initially sued Ford for using ‘Blue Cruise’ for their automated driving system in July. Now, Ford Motor Co is requesting the US Patent Office to withdraw GM’s trademarks for the terms “Cruise” and “Super Cruise”.
The whole fight is about whether “cruise” is a general term used for cars’ technology that allows them to drive without human interference. This is just an example of the level of competition that resides between automakers. They are the leaders in automate driving technology and are by Tesla and Waymo.
GM owns the robo-taxi unit in San Francisco. It has the trademark “Cruise” for this business and “Super Cruise” for its hands-free technology, semi-automated driving technology.
Now Ford’s stance is that GM is trivial to sue them, and this effort has caused the legal fight to escalate. According to Ford, many other companies use the term “Cruise” related to driver-assist technology. And they feel that if they want to defend themselves, they are forced to request the US Patent and Trademark Office to withdraw GM’s registrations.
Other companies that use the term is Mack Trucks who has “Predictive cruise’ for their trucks, and Hyundai’s “Smart Cruise Control”.
GM’s statement last Friday was that the Super Cruise “has had a well-established commercial. It is presence since 2017″ and that they will continue to defend their brands forcefully.
Is the fight really about ‘Cruise’?
It seems that there is an underlying factor driving this legal fight. Ford launches their hands-free driving system, called ‘Blue Cruise’. There are many who believe that it’s not about the term ‘cruise’ but more to do with technology.
Experts views are that these types of hands-free and self-driving systems will be mainstream shortly. And that most automakers are starting to roll out the technology. The name might be different, but the technology will be the same.
Therefore, the question on everyone’s lips might be, ‘what’s the point of this lawsuit? If you are using the same technology anyway, would the customer be so much concerned with what it is called?