Ford asks U.S. Patent Office to reverse GM's Cruise trademarks

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Ford asks U.S. Patent Office to reverse GM's Cruise trademarks

DeTROIT - On Friday, Ford Motor Co announced it will ask the U.S Patent Office to rescind trademarks obtained by rival General Motors Co for the terms Cruise and Super Cruise, ramping up a brawl initiated by Ford over its use of Blue Cruise for an automated driving system.

The legal argument between the two Detroit automakers turns on whether cruise is a generic term for technology that allows the car to take some share of driving tasks from a human driver.

The clash underscores the intense intensity of competition among established automakers to be seen as leaders in intelligent driving technologies competing with Silicon Valley rivals Tesla Inc, Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit and others.

GM filed a federal suit against Ford on July 24 and accuses Ford of violating GM trademarks by using Blue Cruise for a vehicle that enables hands-free driving.

GM had previously trademarked the Super Cruise for its hands-free, partially automated driving technology. It also trademarked Cruise, the name of its new robo-taxi unit in San Francisco.

Ford reiterated in a post on Friday its view that GM's suit was frivolous. The effort to invalidate GM trademarks for the use of the word cruise takes the battle to another level.

To defend itself, Ford has no choice but to ask the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rescind both of GM's Cruise' and 'Super Cruise' trademark registrations that had never been registered in the first place, Ford said. A number of companies use the word "cruise" for driver assist technology.

Among the examples used by Ford: Predictive Cruise, managed by Mack Trucks; Smart Cruise Control, marketed by Hyundai Motor Co. and Autocruise, used by the auto supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG.