Ferrari Lost Its Trademark of the 250 GTO, the World’s Most Expensive Car

Maranello was taken down by the “use it or lose it” clause. Yes, really.

A Ferrari 250 GTO at the 70th anniversary celebration at Goodwood House in England
A 250 GTO at Ferrari’s 70th anniversary party at Goodwood in July of 2017.
Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images

Back in 1962, you could pick up a brand new Ferrari 250 GTO for around $18,000. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $150K for the race car in today’s dollars. But in 2018, it became the car people would most likely travel back in time to buy when it sold at auction for over $48 million, making that particular 1962 model the most expensive car in the world. 

In other words, Ferrari has a huge incentive to keep that design locked down. But as Forbes reported, after a long legal battle, the Maranello marque has lost the trademark rights to the legendary vehicle.

“Ferrari lost its trademark to the shape of the 250 GTO by falling foul of the European Union Intellectual Protection Office’s (EUIPO) ‘Use It Or Lose It’ rules,” wrote Forbes. “The rule, which Ferrari itself has used in litigation against other companies and even charities, was aimed Ferrari’s way in a retaliatory action by custom coachbuilder Ares Design.”

In short, Ares Design, a bespoke car builder founded by Dany Bahar (who is a former Ferrari exec himself), announced plans to sell a 250 GTO “reinterpretation” in 2018, which led to the legal battle, according to Forbes. A year ago, Ferrari seemed to win out after a court ruled the sports car was a work of art and could not be copied, as we reported at the time. But Ares won the war through the “Use It Or Lose It” argument that a trademark can be canceled if not used in five years.

“Understandably, Ferrari fired all its legal barrels at the upstart, but was rebuffed so firmly that it now holds the 250 GTO shape’s trademark for only toys and model cars,” wrote Forbes.

Ouch. On the plus side, enthusiasts can expect to see replicas hit the market in the future, but expect to pay way more than $18K.

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