GM says Blue Cruise infringes on Super Cruise
Suit comes after extensive talks
All is not sailing smoothly when it comes to Cruise. General Motors is taking Ford to court, claiming that Ford’s Blue Cruise hands-off driver assistance feature is too close to GM’s own Cruise autonomous driving research company and GM’s Super Cruise hands-off driver assistance feature.
In a filing in a California district court, a unit of GM said that “Ford knew exactly what it was doing,” reports Bloomberg News. “If Ford wanted to adopt a new, unique, brand, it easily could have done so without using the word ‘Cruise’,” GM said in the filing.
Super Cruise was first introduced in 2017 on the Cadillac CT6. The feature has then expanded to several other GM models. Cruise LLC is a self-driving car startup that is majority-owned by General Motors.
“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,” GM said to Bloomberg in an emailed statement.
In response, Ford NA Product Communications Director Mike Levine said on Twitter that “GM’s claim is meritless and frivolous. Drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is and “cruise” is common shorthand for the capability. Any number of companies use the word “cruise” to brand driver assist technology. That’s why BlueCruise was chosen.” He goes on to give examples including ZF’s Autocruise, Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control, and BMW’s Active Cruise Control. Nearly all automakers refer to their speed control technology, either the old-fashioned style or the more modern adaptive or radar versions, with the use of the term Cruise Control.
The term Cruise Control was first used by Cadillac to describe its speed control function in 1959, a year after Chrysler introduced a similar feature using the name Speedostat. Since then the feature has been offered in just about every car built. As automakers move to a new level of hands-off driving, the fight over the name seems to be heating up.