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Pure Blood Feud? Ferrari Is Suing a Charity Over the Right to Name Its First SUV ‘Purosangue’

The automaker claims the charity hasn't made enough use of the brand since registering the trademark.

The Ferrari logo Armando Babani/EPA-EFE/Shutterst

Ferrari knows exactly what it wants to name its first SUV. And the marque is so dead set on it that it’s willing to take an Italian charity to court over it.

The automaker has sued the Purosangue Foundation, a tiny not-for-profit sports organization, over the rights to the name “Purosangue,” reports Financial Times.  (Purosangue means pure blood or thoroughbred in Italian.) Ferrari’s stance? The charity hasn’t made enough commercial use of the name since registering the trademark in 2013 to warrant exclusive use.

After Ferrari revealed plans to develop its first SUV, which is set to debut in 2022, the marque entered into negotiations with Purosangue over the use of the name. But after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, the charity blocked the automaker’s petition to trademark the brand in Europe, and the Prancing Horse moved forward with its lawsuit.

In response to the claim, Purosangue Foundation, which was established to help combat blood doping in sports, has argued that its ongoing partnership with Adidas is more than sufficient proof that the foundation has made use of the brand. The nonprofit has also set up running camps in countries such as Kenya and has funded health check-ups for the elderly in Italy.

Alessandro Masetti, who is representing the foundation pro bono, called the case a matter of “David versus Goliath,” and added that Purosangue has plenty of proof that it has made use of the name. Meanwhile, the charity’s founder, former professional runner Max Monteforte, said the foundation won’t be intimidated by the more powerful company.

“It is an injustice. Why should we give up our identity? They should have checked first,” he told Financial Times. “We are small so it’s hard to defend our brand, but we are doing important work.”

As of press time, Ferrari had not responded to Robb Report’s request for comment, but the automaker did tell FT that the company “does not comment on pending litigation.”

This is not the first time Ferrari has been involved in a branding dispute. Road & Track points out that the automaker has previously sent DJ Deadmau5 a cease and desist after he built a “Purrari” and has sued an influencer over social media posts it viewed as “distasteful.”

The Purosangue Foundation case is set to be heard in Bologna on March 5.

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