Ford. Chasing away their own customers with lawyers.

Long live the calendar!

My friend Roger, who runs an enthusiast/community website for old Jaguars received a cease & desist letter from Ford asking him to stop selling calendars. Mind you from what I gather he sells only a few calendars a year. I buy a few myself, one for me, one for my dad, and one for Geoff, the guy who rebuilt my engine right (after the bozo’s in Texas bodged it.) It is just a cool little way to mark the passing of the year. The image above is actually on my office wall this month as it is “Miss October” this year.

Why would Ford want to shut this down? First of all, the E-type pre-dates Ford’s acquisition of Jaguar by a couple of decades. Nobody ever looks at an E-type and thinks, “Nice Ford!” Ever.

But Jaguar is a Ford asset (at least until they can find a buyer) and I guess they’d rather punish their enthusiast community rather than say… support it? Hello! Can somebody please tell me why threatening legal actions against your most ardent fans is a smart business move? First Ford destroys the Jaguar brand, now they are trying to destroy what little brand loyalty is left in their customers.

Smooth move guys!

5 thoughts on “Ford. Chasing away their own customers with lawyers.”

  1. Thanks for the words of support, Chuck.

    Actually, what’s really maddening is that as a “little guy” there is very little that can be done. As I mentioned in a post on Jag-Lovers, most online providers of content like youtube or cafe press which are based on user contributions will immediately take down content if they receive a legal challenge to it. Indeed, there was some weirdo who made a hobby of sending false claims in to companies like that, and the content would immediately be pulled. The legit owners of the content would then have to fight to get it reposted.

    I can see the companies’ point. I imagine google (youtube) must get quite a number of DMCA notices every day. They don’t want to arbitrate the issue, so they just pull the content, and if it’s legitimate, it’s up to the owner to prove it.

    My problem is I just don’t have time or money to spend on this. The big companies know this. None of the material on Cafe Press featured the “Jaguar” brand, the unique typography of the brand, or the leaping kitty trademark. Indeed, it’s laughable that something like my “Sir William’s Sixth Symphony” item was pulled, as I drew the overhead view of the XK engine, which in itself is not trademarked. To anyone who is not a car geek, I doubt the image even means anything, and 90% of car geeks probably would not make the connection in any case. It’s like the ultimate insider joke.


  2. Oooh, this got me so steamed that I had to register and voice my opinion. I run the largest Scion enthusiast site, arguably the hottest entry compact car on the market in the states today. For the past several years I have designed, produced and sold a calendar using images that were sent in by our own members. The calendar has made a profit (not much) and helped keep the site going. We usually sell less than 100 calendars a year.

    Unlike Ford, Scion has embraced out site and helped us grow, enhancing the image of their brand. It is incomprehensible to me why Ford would try to stifle the enthusiast base for a brand they own. Hmmm… the only logical explanation is that they plan to save their bottom line by producing their OWN Jag calendars and they are just scared of the competition!

  3. Thanks for the input Darren.

    I doubt that Ford has any intent on creating a calendar of cars that pre-date their involvement with Jaguar by 20 years. From the details I’ve now heard from Roger, I suspect that this is merely trademark/copyright trolling by a law firm in Ford’s employ. They are shotgunning out C&D letters without much thought or analysis.

    Sad situation really.

    Obviously Toyota has a clue and understands brand marketing, unlike the morons in Dearborn.



  4. Well, I’m a bit confused…

    If the photos were taken by owners, doesn’t that mean the owners control the copyright?
    I understand that Ford owns the name ‘Jaguar’ and the ‘leaper’ logo, but you can’t trademark/copyright an automotive design, can you?
    If Ford thinks they own the rights to how the Jaguar image is portrayed, couldn’t this mean that Ford could sue someone who (for examples) puts tacky pinstripes on their Jag in order to make more money when they sell it?

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