Ford and Universal Pictures’ Legal Entanglement Over the Word “Raptor”

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Think you can simply use the word “Raptor” to sell stuff and make a few bucks? Think again, says Universal Pictures.

There are many reasons why Ford couldn’t build a new Lightning sports truck. New safety and engine technology would’ve made the new Lightning too expensive, too heavy, and simply too much of a financial risk for the Motor Company. On the other hand, a hot off-roader was definitely worth the gamble.

After building a sound-enough business case to higher-ups, Ford got to work on their new project. But, what would they name it? It couldn’t be called the new “Lightning,” and giving it an alphanumeric badge like the F-150 wouldn’t make it “unique enough” to high-end buyers.


Whether someone in the truck’s development team was a dinosaur aficionado, or they came across Jurassic Park while randomly flipping through the tv channels — Ford said “the heck with hit,” and called it the Ford F-150 Raptor.


There’s a slight issue with that, because the once-defunct blockbuster was brought back to life in 2015 by Studio Universal Pictures, and the star of their show is the almighty Raptor. A legal document found on this legal blog reads:

“As grounds for opposition, the Ford alleges as follows:

  1. The Applicants, AMBLIN’ ENTERTAINMENT, INC. and UNIVERSITY CITY STUDIOS LLC, have filed an intent-to-use trademark application seeking to register the mark RAPTOR SQUAD as a trademark for various toy vehicles and to car models (among other).”

We’re not quite sure what’s worse, the fact that whoever typed this document called the applicant “University Studios” instead of “Universal Studios,” or the fact that this legal argument is over the licensing of toy Raptor trucks? That’s right! As far as we know, this is what both companies’ lawyers are debating at the moment — toy trucks.

Sure, there’s a great deal of money involved in the sales of toys and other licensed merchandise, but this really seems comical given the millions generated by the sales of real Raptor trucks.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Main photo via: [Morrison / Lee]

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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