Horses for courses as F-dispute is 'wheely' settled

Looks like a Ferrari, handles like a Ford … While the IPKat prefers to prowl around on foot, he has noticed that many bipeds — perhaps because they have so few legs — prefer to travel by other means. Some opt for quadrupeds, of which the horse was once the most popular choice, while others nowadays prefer wheels. Those who buy Ferraris are presumably unable to choose between the two, since the Ferrari is the epitome of the horse on wheels: it has a horse for its logo and its weblog is curiously entitled The Horse Whisperer. Possibly Ford aficionados have the same cast of mind since Ford's brand models include the decidedly equine marques Mustang and Bronco. A few weeks ago the IPKat's friend Kingsley Egbuonu reported on the dispute between car-makers Ford and Ferrari as to whether the latter's F150 mark infringed the former's F-150. As has been spotted by some readers, there have been further developments. As Kingsley explains: On 3 March, ferrari.com's The Horse Whisperer announced that Ford has withdrawn its lawsuit, adding the comment that "…..common sense has prevailed". The text continued as follows: "In order to avoid the slightest risk of anyone confusing a Formula 1 car with a pick-up truck, for their part, the men from Maranello have decided that the car will lose the F that precedes the number 150 and which stands for Ferrari, as it has done on numerous occasions when it's come to giving a car a code name, be it for the race track or the road. It appears that this could have caused so much confusion in the minds of the consumer across the Pond that, at the same time as losing the F, the name will be completely Italianised, replacing the English "th" with the equivalent Italian symbol". "Therefore the name will now read as the Ferrari 150° Italia, which should make it clear even to the thickest of people that the name of the car is a tribute to the anniversary of the unification of our country. Let's hope the matter is now definitely closed and that we can concentrate on other matters, namely ensuring that our car that already seems to be pretty good out of the box, becomes a real winner". Kingsley's comment We have many times been guilty of criticising a person who enforced rights enshrined in law; for instance, under human rights law or in this case, IP law. If this were to be the norm, then we might as well replace all laws (including IP) with "common sense" and live in a world of commercial anarchy. When Ferrari claims the support of the Court of Public Opinion with the expression "common sense", my guess is that it implies "what is reasonable" — which is what judges deal with in a court of law. An early Ford people-mover Arguably, Ferrari may owe some of its own commercial success and fame to IP rights — which do exist for a reason. The majority of old and successful companies that are still with us today have always vigorously protected their trade marks; while some (notable) trade mark owners have on occasion been too slow to react to IP threats, or have failed to monitor and enforce their rights. Just like anyone else, trade mark owners (even Ferrari) must remember the need to conduct due diligence checks before making any commercial branding decision, and there is nothing wrong with IP owners taking appropriate legal action as the last resort, provided their action is not vexatious or frivolous. Call Ferrari's press release what you may: insulting, cheeky, condescending, (right or wrong). Other companies may do the same. Perhaps a better PR approach would have kept Ferrari's response short — using just the first paragraph, less the last sentence. After all, it may not be long before Ferrari finds itself in Ford's shoes". Horse whisperer here Hoarse whisperer here

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