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 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.”