GM Sues Ford Over BlueCruise Self-Driving Vehicle Branding

Cecilia Nysing
  • General Motors sued Ford for trademark infringement over its “BlueCruise” self-driving tech.
  • “Ford knew exactly what it was doing” when it used a brand name similar to GM’s “Cruise,” GM said.
  • “We think GM Cruise’s claim … is meritless and frivolous,” a Ford spokesperson said.

General Motors on Friday filed a lawsuit against Ford over the branding of its “BlueCruise” hands-free driving tech.

Ford’s April announcement of its BlueCruise tech amounted to a “brazen attempt” to co-opt GM’s branding, the complaint said. GM said the name infringed on the trademark of its subsidiary, Cruise, and its self-driving vehicle software, Super Cruise, launched in 2017.

“Ford knew exactly what it was doing,” the complaint said. “If Ford wanted to adopt a new, unique, brand, it easily could have done so without using the word ‘Cruise,’ as shown by Ford’s branding for the same automated driving technology in their luxury car models.”

In some models, Ford’s hands-free features were branded as “ActiveGlide.”

GM in its lawsuit — filed in US District Court in the Northern District of California — accused Ford of trademark infringement and unfair competition. GM sought damages and an order that would permanently stop Ford from using the branding. 

Ford said the branding was an extension of the cruise-control features that vehicle manufacturers have long used.

“We think GM Cruise’s claim … is meritless and frivolous,” a spokesperson said via email. “Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and ‘cruise’ is common shorthand for the capability.”

The company said other carmakers used similar “cruise” features, including Hyundai’s “Smart Cruise Control” and BMW’s “Active Cruise Control.”

The lawsuit detailed a “protracted” exchange between the two companies following Ford’s April announcement. During those talks, the companies “agreed to multiple standstill agreements,” but were unable to come to a solution, GM said.

“Cruise and GM do not file this lawsuit lightly,” the complaint said.

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