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.

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