March 15, 2005

Trademark dispute possible over Ford GT shape

Cincinnati, Ohio – Safir GT40 Spares, the company that holds the trademark to the name originally planned for Ford’s low-volume supercar, now wants to trademark the car’s shape as well.

The GT40 was originally built by Ford between 1964 and 1969 for racing. When it was discontinued, several companies produced replicas, including the Cincinnati-based Safir. The company trademarked the GT40 name in 1985 and produced replicas, sequentially numbered from the last Ford car, until 1999.

Safir GT40 Spares, which sells replacement parts for the older cars, reportedly demanded US$40 million in royalties for use of the name when Ford reintroduced the car, first shown at the 2002 Detroit Auto Show. Ford declined and named the car GT instead.

Safir GT40 Spares is now trying to obtain a trademark on the car’s unique shape from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A successful trademark could result in royalties from Ford for every GT.

Ford has filed an objection to the application; both companies are withholding comment.

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