German magazine threatens legal action over Ford Focus

The launch of the Ford Focus is being disrupted by a copyright battle which could force the company to change the car’s name in Germany, or even drop it altogether.

The weekly German current affairs magazine Focus, which has a circulation of more than 700,000, is threatening the motor company with legal proceedings, claiming that the launch of the car, and specifically any advertising for it, will infringe its trademark.

The name of the new replacement for the Escort was revealed three weeks ago. It will go on sale in October and has sales targets of more than 100,000 in the UK alone.

But it is seen as a global car and the naming row in Germany could damage its launch. Cornelia Inderst, the attorney acting for the magazine’s publisher Burda Holdings, says she is drafting a writ to be served in the German courts.

“We want Ford to stop using the Focus trademark,” says Inderst. “It is well known in Germany and will confuse consumers. We will sue in the next few weeks.”

Ford spokesman Don Hume says the company has registered the Focus name in 100 countries and has not yet received any legal complaint from the German magazine.

“We don’t believe there is any legal case to answer. There is no relationship between what it does and we do,” adds Hume.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here