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Ford Goes After Online Communities For Trademark Infringemnt

Brent Wilson
December 10, 2008
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Update: Please read the updates near the bottom. This has been resolved. Thanks to Scott Monty for his hard work at quickly clearing this up and providing a solution that both sides could agree too….. The first instance of an online community being threatened by Ford for trademark infringement has occurred. has been told by Ford (or a law firm claiming to represent Ford) to pay them $5,000 and stop using their name by December 19th, 2008. Ford is claiming the use of Ranger in their domain violates their trademark. A week ago from today I wrote about how Ford pushed Kocky Products out of business for the use of the Mustang and Blue Oval on their t-shirts.

Ford is clearly playing with fire here. These communities are what keep Ford alive. We don’t have to buy Ford Mustangs. We don’t have to buy Ford. A company that is struggling to stay afloat should not be gambling on pissing off their most loyal customers. It’s stupid. You can’t put it any other way.

The timing doesn’t surprise me though. Ford is finally realizing how awesome the internet is. They just recently setup a whole site dedicated to reaching out to customers on a more personal level, It’s like Ford just discovered the internet existed and are now trying to make up for lost time. Kind of like how Ford just realized that they can’t make gas guzzling cars year after year and not plan for the inevitable day that gas reaches above 3 dollars a gallon.

What blows my mind the most is the hypocrisy of Ford using our communities for profit and then screwing us over. Just a few weeks ago, Mustang Evolution was featured by an official Ford website for content we have on here. You can witness it for yourself here: Ford Digital Snippets. They have also featured content from many other Ford Mustang related forums that clearly use the term Mustang in their domain name as well.

I never thought I’d see the day come where Ford went after enthusiast sites. I always thought you guys had more sense than that. Apparently I was wrong and I can only wonder how successful the current Mustang will be with fewer Ford Mustang enthusiast forums on the internet.


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  • scottmonty

    I am certainly not pleased about this, as the head of Ford’s digital communications team. There is nothing more important to us than our loyal fans, and the big picture seems to have escaped some people.

    Rest assured, I’m trying to get to the bottom of this with our Office of General Counsel. I hope to be able to share more soon.

    Scott Monty
    Global Digital Communications
    Ford Motor Company

  • Brent Wilson

    Thanks Scott for following up on this so quickly.

  • SpectorV

    Its a thin line, you see if they don’t protect their trademarks they lose them. They must protect their trademarks…. the companies that do this for them are not Ford, but Ford has the right to tell them to stop since they are working with Ford. Some companies are doing bad things and screwing customers over for a quick buck while using Fords trademarks, thus Ford gets some of the blame and it tarnishes their image.

    There are many things that they are doing wrong. A company should NOT be able to use Ford trademarks without approval from Ford as the company that is using them does not own them. With that said Ford needs to realize that the online community and other businesses help them out more than they realize.

    Ford needs a way (an easier way) for companies and websites to get access to the trademarks legally… without costing a ton of money or being a huge hassle. Until they come up with an easy to use system this sort of thing will not stop. I hope they come up and put into place a plan soon so these third party agencies that are just trying to make a quick buck prosecuting websites and businesses for using Ford’s trademarks illegally (the only premise) cant do it without cause (REAL cause, such as hurting Fords image).

    Just as companies illegally using trademarks can hurt Fords image… these agencies that are working with ford to stop this also hurt Fords image in the loyal fan’s eyes just as much. Its fighting fire with fire.

  • SpectorV

    Another note is that companies that are attacked like this generally can not afford to fight it. They have but one choice… go out of business and pay the fine. This makes the agencies helping them happy as they get paid. This also hurts the community as it puts a negative image on Ford for allowing this and stops fans from being able to obtain items they wish or promote Ford. In my opinion the agencies should be prosecuted for hurting Fords image before local small web sites.

  • TRSryan

    Hi Scott,

    I’m an administrator at The Ranger Station and would love to get in touch with you.

    You can email me directly at

    The Ranger Station is the largest Ford Ranger community on the internet with 11,000+ users at the moment. We’ll be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the site this November. The thread that is linked here hasn’t dropped below 300 views yet – it’s been a fantastic outcry. Thanks to Mustang Evolution for linking to it.

    Hope to hear from you soon,

  • RPS

    Scott, also know there is another Ranger site called Ranger Power Sports ( and we’re going on our 11th year in operation. With over 56,000 members we stand behind The Ranger Station. I have not received any emails or letters yet but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Here is the thing to remember. Our members are mostly young males just starting out with their first blue oval product. Over the years, we’ve watched thousands of members move on to bigger AND more expensive Ford products because of what they received from our communities. Is Ford willing to risk losing that lifelong dedication to it’s product?

    Jim @

  • SMiTTY

    It amazes me how fast things have been moving on this. Great to see all the ‘Ford Enthusiast’ sites coming together.

    Hope Scott can talk some sense into someone on their General Council. I see this going bad for Ford if they don’t put the brakes on.

    I could certainly see going after someone that is selling Ford products and the likes. But going after what is essentially a car club on the internet? Please.

  • meteorachick

    I don’t think Ford realizes how much their vehicles have become more than just “cars.” To many of us they have become much more of a lifestyle. They should look at us having these sites as a compliment to them, as we keep spending money on THEIR products and for many of us, we continue to buy FORD cars. If they continue to do what they are doing, they are going to take away a lot of people who are loyal Ford owners, and in such a dark economy especially for car makers, if they keep pushing away their customers, its only going to get worse.

  • Nathan


    Thanks for taking the time to respond. Please keep us up to date on this. I’m one of the administrators at and we are very concerned.

    You can email me directly at


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