In what could prove to be a major blow to Ferrari, the European Union Intellectual Protection Office (EUIPO) has made a trademark ruling that could pave the way for companies to build replicas of the iconic 250 GTO.
While an Italian court last year ruled that the 250 GTO is a piece of art that couldn't be replicated or reproduced, the Cancellation Division of the European Union Intellectual Protection Office this week partially revoked Ferrari's trademark for the 250 GTO's design on the grounds that a trademark can be revoked if, within a continuous period of five years, it hasn't been put to genuine use.
The issue has to do with the trademark, which Ferrari has held since 2008, being filed for Class 12 vehicles, which are vehicles designed for travel via land, water, or air, but Ferrari only using it for toys and scale models. As a result, the trademark has been maintained for the use of toys and scale models under the new EUIPO ruling, but not actual driveable cars.
Ares' modern Ferrari 250 GTO based on the Ferrari 812 Superfast
According to EUIPO documents obtained by This Is Money, the case was brought up by lawyers representing Ares Design, who argued that the trademark had been filed in bad faith, as it was being used to block other companies building cars with a likeness to the 250 GTO. Ares Design was likely prompted to take action after it unveiled in 2018 a stunning homage to the 250 GTO designed to fit the chassis of a Ferrari 812 Superfast or F12 Berlinetta.
It isn't clear whether Ferrari will be able to appeal the decision. Another possibility could be Ferrari building cars with a likeness to the 250 GTO via the automaker's new Icona program which started in 2018 with the Monza SP1 and Monza SP2. Ferrari could also build continuation examples of the 250 GTO, something former chairman Sergio Marchionne hinted at 2018.
The 250 GTO is a homologation special that was built in the early 1960s. Just 39 were built over a two-year period and today the cars regularly trade hands for eight figures. In 2018, an example attached to racing legend Phil Hill sold for $48 million at auction. Incredibly, the cars might have traded for even higher sums in private sales. Another example is thought to have sold for $70 million in a private sale in 2018.