Italian supercar maker Ferrari has lost the trademark rights to the world’s most expensive car and arguably the most iconic car in its storied history, the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.
Though the Ferrari 250 GTO only cost US$18,000 in the United States when they were new, one of them set a new record for the world’s most expensive car in 2018 when it sold privately for US$70 million.
Ferrari lost its trademark to the shape of the 250 GTO by falling foul of the European Union Intellectual Protection Office’s (EUIPO) “Use It Or Lose It” rules.
The rule, which Ferrari itself has used in litigation against other companies and even charities, was aimed Ferrari’s way in a retaliatory action by custom coachbuilder Ares Design.
Ares Design is based in Modena, just 20km from Ferrari’s hometown in Maranello and was founded by former Lotus CEO and Ferrari executive, Dany Bahar.
Ares Design announced in 2018 that it planned a limited run of “reinterpretation” 250 GTOs, each worth around €1 million.
“It’s a modern reinterpretation, not a copy,” Bahar insisted.
It’s not the only Ferrari reinterpretation from Ares Design, either, with the company paying homage to the relatively unloved 412 as well.
Ferrari took umbrage at this and hauled Ares into a Bolognese court, where the 250 GTO was ruled as an irreplaceable work of art and Ares was sent packing.
Long before that, however, Ferrari tried to protect its trademark through a 2008 application with the EUIPO to protect the shape of the 250 GTO, even though it hadn’t used it in a production car since 1964.
Ares fought back after its Bologna setback and challenged the EUIPO protection under rules that state a trademark that hasn’t been used in five years can be cancelled.