EU Court decides Ferrari no longer holds exclusive rights to the 250 GTO

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Ferrari 250 GTO court Ferrari 250 GTO court

Landmark court ruling makes way for low-volume kit cars and replicas

Ferrari is no stranger to throwing its corporate weight around, especially so in order to protect its lucrative brand image and the magic captured by its illustrious past; not least of which includes the holy grail of car collecting, the Ferrari 250 GTO.

Ferrari has fought fiercely to protect its brand, and the special car whose value is so deeply-steeped in exclusivity, culminating in a 2019 Italian Commercial Tribunal ruling which legally regarded the 250 GTO as an "entirely original" piece of "art", protected from imitation, replication and reproduction. A higher EU court has recently back-flipped on that decision however, whilst partly revoking Ferrari’s trademark on the rare 1960s racer.

READ NEXT: FERRARI 250 GTO SELLS FOR $92 MILLION – SETS NEW RECORD

Ares Design, a fellow Modena Italy-based coachbuilder and designhaus, took Ferrari to the European Union’s Intellectual Protection Office, in response to last year’s ‘artistic’ court precedence. Ares Design argued to the EUIPO that Ferrari’s 250 GTO trademark was filed in bad faith, as a defensive move to block third parties to produce and sell similarly built low-volume sports cars.

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The EUIPO’s decision to strip away Ferrari’s exclusive rights were cited by Article 58(1)(a) of the EUTMR, which states that an EU trademark may be revoked if not put in use for five continuous years; which they haven’t really done since 1964. In the end, it was ruled that Ferrari had not proven genuine use of the trademark.

This does open the door for legitimate and legal kit cars and replicas and has caused many to wonder whether a tangible effect will be felt on genuine GTO values.

READ NEXT: AU$64M 1962 FERRARI 250 GTO AT THE CENTRE OF LEGAL STOUSH

In truth, replica cars are nothing new – and Ferrari’s iconic 60s road and race cars have never been safe from imitation. It’s also entirely possible that an influx of cheaper replicas can push values even further north: as was observed in original Aston Martin DB4 GTs after Aston’s own DB4 GT Continuation increased production numbers by 25%.

It’s been whispered that numerous owners of genuine and original 250 GTOs have even commissioned ludicrously expensive and exacting replicas of their own vehicles for use in vintage racing, whilst their original 'investments' can sit safely in their hermetically-sealed vault.

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Just 36 250 GTOs were ever produced from 1962 to 1964; and frequently set auction records in the rare instances they trade hands. In 2018, RM Sotheby’s set records with an AU$70 million sale at Monterey. This is not to mention the even more lucrative private sales that are conducted behind closed doors. An ex-Stirling Moss examples privately selling for a reported AU$92 million just months after RM Sotheby’s record-setting auction.

Their ever-limited supply keeps their values safe; and a global network of historians, experts and the most exclusive ‘owners club’ in the world should easily prevent any imitations passed off as genuine vehicles.

In 2020, you’d be mad for attempting to fraudulently sell a non-genuine GT-HO Falcon as the real deal; let alone a globally-recognised, one-of-36, AU$70 million Ferrari.

If you happen to own one of those original 250 GTOs, you need not worry about old mate down the road’s dressed-up Datsun 260z.

 

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