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A legal battle has broken out between Ferrari and a tiny sports charity over the Italian word for thoroughbred. Image Credit: Supplied

Ferrari is suing a tiny non-profit charity organization over the use of the Purosangue name which the Italian carmaker wants for its first-ever SUV.

The Maranello giant, known for some of the world’s hottest sportscars, supercars, high-performance engines and a vast racing heritage, will be pursuing legal action against the Purosangue Foundation over use of the word which translates to “thoroughbred”. It has been loosely attached to the manufacturer’s yet-to-be-revealed high-riding performance vehicle since 2018 and is due to go on sale in 2022.

The name seems to be a perfect fit with the prancing horse logo, and Ferrari will be looking to the future and the possibility of it becoming an autonomous brand in its own right. But the charity, which advocates against doping in sports, set up training camps for runners in Kenya and is known for its funding for health check-ups for the elderly, said it registered the word back in 2013 as a trademark for clothing. An agreement with Ferrari could not be reached, it says, and it has now blocked the carmaker’s registration to the trademark in Europe.

Ferrari says the charity has not made sufficient commercial use of the name over the last five years to warrant exclusivity and is building a case around this absence.

A spokesman for Ferrari said the company “does not comment on pending litigation” but Alessandro Masetti, a lawyer representing the charity foundation said this is clearly a "David versus Goliath case".

Max Monteforte, founder of Purosangue Foundation added, “Why should we give up our identity? They should have checked first. I am not going to be scared off, even knowing that we are up against one of the most important brands in the world."

The case will be heard by a court in Bologna on March 5.

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