3 May 2019Trademarks

Ford sues local dealership for breaching TM contract

Ford is suing a car dealership for breaching a trademark licensing deal signed with the automobile manufacturer.

The carmaker claims that The White Family Companies (TWFC) is not entitled to use a pole sign which formerly bore the Ford ‘Blue Oval’ logo.

TWFC subleased a premises to a Ford dealership in Toledo, Ohio, until the dealer located in 2018. Ford claims that the pole on the old premises now bears a TWFC related logo while retaining the distinctive shape of the Ford ‘Blue Oval’.

Ford alleged that TWFC had broken an agreement governing TWFC’s use of the Ford logo.

In 2008, TWFC subleased the premises to a new Ford dealership.

According to Ford, TWFC signed a “dealership identification agreement” with the automobile company. This agreement gave Ford the right to enter the premises and handle, repair and remove the ‘Ford’ brand sign displayed at the premises, the complaint said.

Ford said that it operates these agreements in order to prevent damage to the reputation and prestige of its brand when signs bearing its marks fall into disrepair, or are left in vacant premises after a dealership relocates.

The dealer signage included an “enormous ‘Blue Oval’” logo, which was “significantly taller than any signage or building in its vicinity”.

The dealership relocated in 2018, upon which Ford sought to enter the old premises and remove the ‘Blue Oval’ sign.

According to the complaint, TWFC refused to grant Ford access to the premises and informed the company that it intended to refurbish the sign with a TWFC-related logo and operate the site in connection with a Honda dealership.

Ford is seeking an injunction granting it access to the premises, and preventing TWFC from using the pole sign or breaching the dealership identification agreement.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories:

US could get more access to China’s cloud computing market

Original and creative designs can be copyrighted: AG

DoJ calls for additional hearing in Qualcomm antitrust case

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at