Autos & Transportation

GM, Ford to settle suit over use of 'BlueCruise' name for hands-free driving

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A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Co, outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Heather Somerville

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WASHINGTON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N) and Ford Motor Co (F.N) have agreed to settle a legal battle over the latter's use of the name "BlueCruise" to market its hands-free driving technology.

In a notice filed in court late on Friday, the two automakers said they are in the "process of settling all claims and counterclaims at issue." A judge agreed to dismiss the suit on condition the automakers finalize a settlement within 60 days. No details were released.

A Ford spokesman said the settlement has not been finalized but said the No. 2 U.S. automaker will "continue to use the BlueCruise name, as we do today for F-150 and Mustang Mach-E and next for the 2022 Expedition."

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GM said both automakers "have resolved the case and related proceedings amicably. At this time, we have no further comment."

In July, GM and its Cruise robo-taxi subsidiary filed a lawsuit to stop Ford from using the name BlueCruise. GM said in July the automakers had held "protracted discussions" over the matter but failed to resolve it.

"Ford knew what it was doing," GM said in the lawsuit. "Ford's decision to rebrand by using a core mark used by GM and Cruise will inevitably cause confusion."

GM announced in 2012 it would use the name Super Cruise for its hands-free driver assistance technology, and has been marketing the technology using that name since 2017.

Ford previously called the lawsuit, filed in federal court in California, "meritless and frivolous," saying "drivers for decades have understood what cruise control is, every automaker offers it, and 'cruise' is common shorthand for the capability."

Automakers are racing to deploy technology to enable drivers to take their hands off the steering wheel in traffic jams or on highways. The so-called Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, such as Tesla Inc's (TSLA.O) semi-automated Autopilot technology, are not supposed to allow drivers to disengage fully from driving for extended periods.

Automakers have used the word "cruise" for decades to describe systems that allow drivers to set a speed the car will maintain, usually in highway driving.

GM's majority-owned Cruise self-driving vehicle unit has been operating since 2013.

Ford announced it would use the name BlueCruise for its hands-free driving technology in April this year. read more

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler

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