HomeThe MarketFerrari loses trademark case over 250 GTO design

Ferrari loses trademark case over 250 GTO design

EU court says Ferrari can keep producing GTO toys, but denies its claim to full-scale design rights


In 2019, an Italian court determined that the Ferrari 250 GTO was a work of art and could not be reproduced in kit-car form. Undaunted, Modena-based Ares Design appealed the decision and today there are media reports on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean that the Cancellation Division of the European Union Intellectual Protection Office has overturned the Italian court’s decision.

Under EU rules, a trademark can be revoked if it has not been put to genuine and continuous use within 5 years. Ferrari claimed it had done so, although with toy and model cars, not cars that could be driven.

According to diazhub.com, the “use it or lose it” clause also was used successfully in 2019 by Irish fast food restaurant group Supermacs in a suit with McDonald’s over “Big Mac.”

In its report, the website quoted that EU office’s decision as stating, “In the present case, the Cancellation Division considers that genuine use of the contested EUTM has been sufficiently demonstrated for the relevant factors in relation to toy vehicles, scale-model vehicles, whereas no use of the mark or proper reasons for non-use have been demonstrated in relation to any of the other goods in Class 12 (vehicles) for which it is registered.”

Ferrari 250 GtO, Ferrari loses trademark case over 250 GTO design, ClassicCars.com Journal
The owner of this Ferrari 250 GTO still races the car | Sonoma Raceway photo

“Ferrari loses trademark battle: get ready for a run of 250 GTO replicas,” was the headline on the Hagerty.com report on the decision.

“Area Design is best known for its Panther Progettouno, a DeTomaso Pantera re-creation, based on Lamborghini underpinnings,” Hagerty reported. “Now, with this landmark ruling, Ares can turn its hand to re-imagining the most expensive car in the world.”

Ferrari produced 39 of its 250 GTO models in the early 1960s and they have become the most expensive of collector cars, selling for as much as a reported $80 million.

Hagerty’s report noted, “In good news for Ferrari, it has been allowed to keep the trademark for making model cars.”

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Oh boy, now I can buy my RIP off Ferrari from Area Design. Can’t wait to get my fake car. Maybe I can order it with a 427 V8 with a supercharger. Woohoo!!!

    • A big block will never fit, but a Chevy LS7 427 small block might be able to squeeze in, but it is still heavier than the early small blocks and transmissions will be heavier also. All of that weight will require the suspension to be pretty beefy for that car. You have a big challenge ahead.


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