In any battle of David versus Goliath, we instinctively side with the little guy, but that doesn't mean the giant isn't swinging his club for a reason. Yesterday we reported on the plight of TheRangerStation.com, an enthusiast site devoted to the Ford Ranger. TRS had posted on its own forum that the site that Ford's lawyers were asking for $5,000 and rights to the website's domain name as a result of violating the automaker's trademarks. We mentioned in our post that TRS was probably being targeted because it was selling merchandise bearing a number of Ford's trademarked logos (including one decal of a nekkid lady straddling the iconic Blue Oval, which can be seen after the jump). As the dust has settled, it appears this was the case.
Ford's official response to the matter is after the jump, but is summed up best by the line, "In short, we are not asking for $5,000 and we would like you to keep the domain name. We simply encourage TheRangerStation.com to contact Ford to request a license to continue using the domain name."

TRS has since taken down the counterfeit merchandise, i.e. merchandise not officially licensed by Ford. Other Ford enthusiast sites worried about when lawyers might come calling should A) not sell stuff bearing unlicensed Ford logos or B) follows Ford's directions after the jump on how to obtain a license.

In the realm of social media, Ford has also gotten kudos from this website for the way in which it handled the situation with TRS. Ford's head of social media Scott Monty monitored the situation all day, posted updates on Twitter and went back and forth between Ford's legal department and posting on the TRS forums.

[Source: Searchviews.com]

Ford's Response

Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention. Without question, Ford enthusiasts are extremely important to us. Their enthusiasm and loyalty are part of our heritage and part of what's going to keep us moving forward.

Recently, there was an item posted stating that Ford was requesting TheRangerStation.com to turn over its URL to Ford and pay $5,000. We'd like the opportunity to share some additional facts that might make a difference in how you think about this situation.

In its communications, TheRangerStation.com stated that Ford was making them change the name of their site and pay $5,000. What was not mentioned was that TheRangerStation.com was selling counterfeit Ford-brand merchandise on the site. As a company, Ford has a responsibility to protect our brand and a responsibility to our licensees. We cannot let something like that pass. (The counterfeit goods have been removed from the website since TheRangerStation.com got the letter from Ford's attorney.)

Please know that Ford takes no joy in pursuing enthusiast sites. Since there are a number of sites out there with Ford vehicles as part of their names or URLs, some people have asked if they should be concerned. Ford has been and continues to be willing to license its trademarks for use by enthusiast groups and enthusiast websites. Requesting a license is done easily by contacting tmgroup@ford.com. To request a license to produce or sell branded merchandise bearing Ford's trademarks, contact branduse@ford.com.

In short, we are not asking for $5,000 and we would like you to keep the domain name. We simply encourage TheRangerStation.com to contact Ford to request a license to continue using the domain name.

We hope you will share this information with anyone who is concerned. We deeply appreciate our fans' dedication and enthusiasm and want to be able to work together with all of our supporters to tell the Ford story.


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