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Ferrari - a lawyer's best friend?


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#1 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:15

Boy, it really looks like Ferrari is a litigation junkie!

Check this out. What do our forum lawyers think? Is the scarlet marque barking up a wrong tree? Personally, I think it is a bit pathetic, and counter-productive - in that it is drawing attention to something they would rather did not have attention drawn to it.

Or perhaps they will get an Italian magistrate to waste UK police time in forcing a Manchester Ferrari owner to remove the badges from his car?

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#2 peroa

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:27

Well, HE bought the car and can do with it whatever the f*** he likes ...


Ferrari is really a bit :stoned:

#3 Clatter

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:27

Think they are making themselves look very stupid if they persue this.

#4 Tigershark

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:29

"Lawyers say that since Mr Cawley cut the 360 Modena in half and inserted a 3m (9.5ft) section of hand-built carbon fibre, the car is no longer a Ferrari."

Perhaps, but the badges and the '360 Modena'-name still are, which is why he had to remove them.

#5 ensign14

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:29

Looks bonkers to me. It depends on how the whole thing has been conceived, if he bought the Ferrari new you'd need to see whether it was sold on the basis he wouldn't change it, if he did not it would depend on whether he was calling it a Ferrari or a home-built special or something. I don't see they have a case at all otherwise but I'm not an IP expert and I don't know what the regulations are for road-use and limo mods.

#6 peroa

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:30

Originally posted by Tigershark
"Lawyers say that since Mr Cawley cut the 360 Modena in half and inserted a 3m (9.5ft) section of hand-built carbon fibre, the car is no longer a Ferrari."

Perhaps, but the badges and the '360 Modena'-name still are, which is why he had to remove them.


Emm, Mr Cawley bought the badges with the car and can pretty much burn them if he wants to.

Or he can just leave them on HIS car.

#7 Johny Bravo

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:33

Evil Ferrari. :down:

They even had an active mole last year at a rival team. :down: Uhm, no, that was Mclaren. :rotfl:

#8 undersquare

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:38

Originally posted by Johny Bravo
Evil Ferrari. :down:

They even had an active mole last year at a rival team. :down: Uhm, no, that was Mclaren. :rotfl:


Ah! I had forgotten about this. That changes everything!! :rotfl:

#9 jokuvaan

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:47

Mr Cawley bought the badges with the car and can pretty much burn them if he wants to.


Well not entirely, general trademark laws dont work like that. Especially when this guy is using Ferrari's brand name to make profit. Whats next, Ferrari washing machine?

But sure he can burn the car or the badges, if he hasnt done any special agreement with Ferrari.

Partly because of guys like Dan Cawley, top Ferrari cars are sold only to selected persons.

#10 StefanV

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:48

It is an interesting case, bordering traditional copyright cases. A bit as if I take "Like a Virgin" by Madonna and add 2 minutes of my own stuff in the middle of it and out it up on Youtube with the title 'Madonna: Like a Virgin'.
Emphasis is on 'a bit' :)

#11 angst

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:52

Originally posted by jokuvaan



Partly because of guys like Dan Cawley, top Ferrari cars are sold only to selected persons.


Bollox. Ferrari cars are sold to those that can afford them. They are a business like any other.

#12 JForce

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:53

If he uses the fact that it's a Ferrari to make money then he's infringing on their trademarks. Also, there's an element of bringing disrepute to their brand which they have worked hard to position in a certain way.

Besides, he should be locked away for doing that a Ferrari in the first place

#13 JForce

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 11:56

Originally posted by angst


Bollox. Ferrari cars are sold to those that can afford them. They are a business like any other.


Depends on the model.

#14 kar

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:02

I dunno, I mean Ferrari's trademark etc is quite valuable as is the names of its models.

It sounds extreme but it kinda makes sense. What if someone turns a Ferrari into something particularly tasteless - not that this is the case here - but if someone did. If Ferrari _didn't_ aggressively protect its trademark here it might have even less legal grounds to do so later.

#15 pRy

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:03

You can see their point of view. This is going way beyond a simple modification. What he has done is bought a legitimate Ferrari and created a new car by adding an extra bit in the middle. He has branded it by leaving the logos and badge on the car. He is to make money from this modification.

So what he has done is said: Ok, here is a new car, and guess what, it's a Ferrari!

It's very similar to another case Ferrari are involved in. A bunch of guys in Italy have been selling fake Ferraris. They would take original Ferrari parts and put them with other non Ferrari parts and they would then try to sell the cars at a much lower price.

So what happens if this man who has butchered the chassis of the car goes out and happens to kill 4 passengers because the middle of the car fails? Ferrari would be associated by the fact their brand is on the car.

I think they've got a good case. There is also a good case to throw that guy into a padded room. What a horrible thing to do to such a car.

#16 Bloggsworth

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:05

Originally posted by Tigershark
"Lawyers say that since Mr Cawley cut the 360 Modena in half and inserted a 3m (9.5ft) section of hand-built carbon fibre, the car is no longer a Ferrari."

Perhaps, but the badges and the '360 Modena'-name still are, which is why he had to remove them.


If the parts on which the badges and name are affixed are still genuine Ferrari items, then they are correctly described as Ferrari.

The Mona Lisa has been stolen many times, occasionally by cutting it from within its frame, thereby losing a proportion of the canvas, is it now incorrectly displayed as "The Mona Lisa" because it is not now as it was?

Reminds me of the time Audi tried to sue Maserati for producing the Quattroporte as Audi claimed to own the rights to "Quattro"; the judge told them to absent themselves, they could not claim ownership of the number 4!

The case will be uncontested, as Ferrari can spend £100s of £1,000s in court, whereas the owner of the modified car, in all probability, can't. I have known many cases where large companies just say to people, you may well be correct, but we can afford to tie you up in court for years, it's good practice for our young corporate lawyers, how long will you last before bankruptcy gets you. It is an unfair world.

#17 JForce

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:10

Originally posted by Bloggsworth


If the parts on which the badges and name are affixed are still genuine Ferrari items, then they are correctly described as Ferrari.


You're wrong. He's describing something that is not a Ferrari anymore and using it to make money. It might look like a Ferrari, but it isn't anymore. It's like calling Frankenstein's monster "Stephen". It may have Stephen's left arm, but that doesn't make it Stephen.

#18 Perigee

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:11

That car now looks hideous.

I think we should all be demanding the owner be executed for "Crimes against Taste", irrespective of what Ferrari have demanded!  ;)

That said, and even as a Ferrari fan, I have doubts about what Ferrari can insist the owner of the car can do with it.

Sure, I recall from a TV prog that clauses were included in the contract when a member of the public purchased a (relatively recent) Ferrari F1 car, but I doubt such clauses exist upon purchasing a road car, or that they would be legally enforceable.

But, really, why-oh-why-oh-why would you want to stretch a high performance road car anyway.

All stretch cars look tackie and tasteless and vulgar anyway, doing it to a Ferrari is just horrible.


Oh...and as for the Mona Lisa being modified...
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#19 ensign14

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:13

Originally posted by StefanV
It is an interesting case, bordering traditional copyright cases. A bit as if I take "Like a Virgin" by Madonna and add 2 minutes of my own stuff in the middle of it and out it up on Youtube with the title 'Madonna: Like a Virgin'.
Emphasis is on 'a bit' :)

I'd say it's not even close. The whole point about "Like A Virgin" is that it is a creative work (remember the law does not look into how good something is) and its sole value is in its creativity. When you buy a copy of the song you don't buy a license to deal with the music as you see fit for your own creative work.

If it still uses original suspension, engine, axles, transmission and steering assembly, as far as the DVLA is concerned it is still the original car.

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#20 Lord Snooty

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:14

Originally posted by Tigershark
"Lawyers say that since Mr Cawley cut the 360 Modena in half and inserted a 3m (9.5ft) section of hand-built carbon fibre, the car is no longer a Ferrari."

Perhaps, but the badges and the '360 Modena'-name still are, which is why he had to remove them.


Presumably, then, if he fixes the badges to the original Ferrari bits (the front and rear of the 'car') and not the fibre glass insert, he ought to be ok, no?

#21 ensign14

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:14

Originally posted by JForce


You're wrong. He's describing something that is not a Ferrari anymore and using it to make money. It might look like a Ferrari, but it isn't anymore. It's like calling Frankenstein's monster "Stephen". It may have Stephen's left arm, but that doesn't make it Stephen.

What of Alex Zanardi? He's had a couple of bits replaced. Does he have to change his name?

#22 hobbes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:18

First of all, if he had bought a Ferrari and then stretched it like he did, i really dont think he will have money problems or anything as such. It is an interesting case and i can understand why Ferrari is right and wrong. First of all he bought the car so he can do whatever he wants with it, but it's different from modifying a Fiat for example. Ferrari has an image to think of and besides, the modified part is not even made by Ferrari and the car isn't a 360 modena anymore.

#23 hobbes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:19

Originally posted by Lord Snooty


Presumably, then, if he fixes the badges to the original Ferrari bits (the front and rear of the 'car') and not the fibre glass insert, he ought to be ok, no?


Nothing like that. You are saying that i can buy a Ferrari hood and place it on my Fiat and be okay with it. The badge is referring to the whole of the car

#24 JForce

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:27

Originally posted by ensign14

What of Alex Zanardi? He's had a couple of bits replaced. Does he have to change his name?


Is he using someone elses bits to make money from their brand without their permission?

#25 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:27

That's the argument really. Not whether the stretched car is a Ferrari anymore, but rather whether a new car can be called a Ferrari.

#26 hobbes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:30

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld
That's the argument really. Not whether the stretched car is a Ferrari anymore, but rather whether a new car can be called a Ferrari.


Well since it was a Ferrari and then got modified its unusual. If the question is whether it is a Ferrari or not, i would say no (i think thats quite easy to say)

#27 ensign14

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:41

Originally posted by JForce


Is he using someone elses bits to make money from their brand without their permission?

Is he making money from the Ferrari BRAND, or the fact that the car is a Ferrari with appropriate Ferrari accoutrements? Squinting at the number plate it looks like it doesn't have a Q plate, so is considered a Ferrari officially...

#28 Gareth

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:42

Originally posted by JForce


Is he using someone elses bits to make money from their brand without their permission?

I think this is a key part of it. If he were using the car just for private use, Ferrari would have no argument.

#29 hobbes

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:44

Im guessing that in order for Ferrari to consider suing, they must know that they can win the case

#30 Gareth

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:46

Originally posted by ensign14

Is he making money from the Ferrari BRAND, or the fact that the car is a Ferrari with appropriate Ferrari accoutrements? Squinting at the number plate it looks like it doesn't have a Q plate, so is considered a Ferrari officially...

He calls it (it would appear) the Ferrari Limo, so I don't think he's claiming it's still a Ferrari 360 Modena, which would appear to be your defense?

#31 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:47

Ferrari will point out they don't make, sponsor, or endorse any limos.

#32 undersquare

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:53

This is from a newspaper item about trademarks...

"What is an infringement? Infringement occurs when someone (the "junior user") uses a trademark that is identical or confusingly similar to an existing trademark (the "senior trademark") owned by a senior user, on similar goods, services, products or technologies without permission or a license from the senior user. Courts use many factors to evaluate the likelihood that the public would be confused about the source of either trademark user's products or the relationship between the two trademark owners. The infringement can be intentional, e.g., when the junior user is counterfeiting goods, or inadvertent, e.g., when the junior user is trying to make fair use, but doesn't satisfy all the legal requirements. "

http://www.sun.com/p...ies/trademarks/

So it looks as though Ferrari could feel that with having their logos on it people might think Ferrari make limos. I think on that basis they may have a case.

But whether it's smart to be so quick on the draw is another thing. A few hundred people would ever have seen the limo, now some thousands have seen Ferrari being called bullies.

#33 marcus123

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:58

The guy must be laughing at all the free publicity his limo business is getting, all thanks to Ferrari.
If they had ignored it, so would all have the media.

#34 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 12:59

I don't think anyone will not buy a Ferrari based on this case. At any rate Ferrari are almost forced to. You can't defend your copyright over time if you don't attack violations of it.

#35 marcus123

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:05

I can't see that altering a car is infringing trademark, especially to the extent of needing to protect the trademark istselg. If he is selling it as a Ferrari or marketing his business using their name then fair enough, but surely as a private individual, once you've bought the car, its yours do to as you wish.

#36 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:09

As usual, the BB lawyers are having a field day on this. The courts will decide in the end, I suppose.

I just think Ferrari are being a bit prattish. People have been doing outrageous modifications to cars ever since whenever. But it takes Ferrari to behave like a butt-plugged bully when someone does it to one of theirs. I mean, really.........

#37 jondon

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:11

Hmmmm... reminds me of this
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courtesy of Sniff Petrol

#38 McGuire

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:15

There is no downside in going after these practices. Stetch limo operators are such sympathetic characters. Not. In the social order they rank right along assistant manager, tittie bar.

Where this guy went wrong is in saying, "it's my car and I can do what I like with it." Well, it may be his car but it is not his trademark, and when he uses it commercially to the perceived harm of Ferrari he will be sideways with a whole flock of lawyers.

This is hardly a Ferrari thing either. Rolls-Royce protects its brand and trade images at least as fiercely... or at least it used to. Stick a Parthenon grille and flying lady on your golf cart and they find out, prepare for a cease and desist order.

#39 McGuire

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:17

Originally posted by marcus123
I can't see that altering a car is infringing trademark, especially to the extent of needing to protect the trademark istselg. If he is selling it as a Ferrari or marketing his business using their name then fair enough, but surely as a private individual, once you've bought the car, its yours do to as you wish.


But it's not a private car; it's a commercial vehicle. This limo operator is presumably using the Ferrari brand to attract customers. To the detriment of the Ferrari brand, its lawyers will undoubtedly claim.

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#40 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:19

Oh come on, McGuire - did lady Penelope get sued by Rolls-Royce for driving around in an eight-wheeler stretch Roller in Thunderbirds??

#41 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:21

....and if so, Roller's lawyers are going to mightily busy in the future. Just look here......

#42 McGuire

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:24

Originally posted by LeD
Oh come on, McGuire - did lady Penelope get sued by Rolls-Royce for driving around in an eight-wheeler stretch Roller in Thunderbirds??


I can see where Rolls would find that fair use, while other infringements are less complementary to its brand image. I'm surprised people are not more familiar with Rolls-Royce's history and reputation in these matters.

#43 McGuire

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:26

Originally posted by LeD
....and if so, Roller's lawyers are going to mightily busy in the future. Just look here......


You are confusing the issue. Ferrari does not build limousines. Rolls and Ferrari will each protect their brand ferociously, but not for the same infringements. They build different products.

#44 marcus123

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:27

But it's not a private car; it's a commercial vehicle.



If that is indeed the case, then they may have a point. Its not clear from the article.
They would also have a point if he slapped the Ferrari badge on say a ford, but he didn't. Its part of the car that he bought.

If he instead painted the car a lurid pink and marketed his business in a readlly cheap and tacky way, would Ferrari have any right to object then?

#45 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:27

Well just do a google image search with the keywords "stretch limo"and "Rolls-Royce" (or indeed ANY brand of motor car) and see what you get. I don't recall Roller or any other manufacturer zealously pursuing such supposed infringements of IP, otherwise such a search would turn up a zero result, no?

But hey, you're right, I am not particularly familiar with Rolls Royce's history and reputation in such matters: I guess I am just not litigious enough.

#46 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:31

Originally posted by LeD
Well just do a google image search with the keywords "stretch limo"and "Rolls-Royce" (or indeed ANY brand of motor car) and see what you get.


I saw a Lincoln, for starters

#47 LeD

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:33

I saw a Maserati, for seconds...

#48 valachus

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:41

Originally posted by ensign14

Is he making money from the Ferrari BRAND, or the fact that the car is a Ferrari with appropriate Ferrari accoutrements? Squinting at the number plate it looks like it doesn't have a Q plate, so is considered a Ferrari officially...


Well, it sure looks like he IS making money from the Ferrari brand, and trying hard at it too. Check out his website: http://www.stylelimousines.co.uk/

...and more than that, he also claims to be "1st To build the F1 360 ferrari limo". Trademark infringement in my humble (and far removed from expert) opinion. At least if Ferrari S.p.A. had the common sense to register all 3D forms of their cars as trademarks in the E.U..

#49 McGuire

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:42

You guys are way missing the point. This is not about what you or I think about it, nor stretch limos really, in case they happen to be Ferraris. I am telling you how the auto industry actually works, in particular how marques like Ferrari and Rolls have historically protected their brand images.

There is nothing the least bit new about this. Nor does Ferrari need to win this case to accomplish its goal. The message they are planting here is Ferrari badges do not a Ferrari make. Everyone who reads the press coverage will take that story home with them. I have seen Ferrari do this a dozen times with kit cars etc. Brand protection is especially crucial for Ferrari since it derives so much revenue from merchandising.

#50 Cotchin

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Posted 05 March 2008 - 13:57

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