Friday, 11 February 2011

Where's the beef?

The spat over Ferrari's use of the designation F150 for this year's Formula One car,  reported in the US press (WSJ here), is about dilution. Dilution, would you believe, of Ford's F-150 registered trade mark, used for pick-up trucks.

In fact Ferrari weren't using "F150" as the designation of the car, but calling it the F150th Italia, a rather convoluted reference to the unification of Italy in 1861. So they settled on the basis that they would use the full designation only. Whether TV commentators will or not is, I suppose, another matter, but there's not often much need to quote model numbers - there will only be one Ferrari model taking part in the races, after all. The print media might be a different story.

I still don't see how a claim of dilution could hold water. Are Ferrari taking some sort of advantage of the repute attaching to Ford's trade mark? Are you joking? How many examples of this model do you think they plan to sell, anyway? Are they doing something detrimental to it? Quite the opposite, I'd have thought. Does anyone in the US pay any attention to Formula One, especially since that farce at Indy that called itself the US Grand Prix a few years ago?

So (as Garibaldi might have said), where's the beef?

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