“Lincoln.” “Lynk & Co.” Say them out loud, and there is a similarity there that’s sort of harmonic. At least, there’s enough to bother Ford, according to a report in Automotive News, which said that Lincoln plans to take legal action with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to block use of the Lynk & Co name in the United States.
The report quoted an unnamed Lincoln spokesperson as saying, “Their name as it stands will confuse customers.” Lynk & Co, a startup owned by China’s Geely, so far has shown two concepts, the 01 crossover and the 03 sedan (pictured at top of page). The company says it plans to enter the U.S. market next year; that it will sell cars direct to consumers, without using dealerships; that the cars will have a built-in feature to facilitate peer-to-peer rental in the manner of Airbnb; and that it will offer a “lifetime warranty.”
There’s plenty to smirk at here, but Ford Motor Company lawyers do not appear to be amused. Maybe the brand still feels burned that Bentley scooped up the Continental nameplate in the mid-1950s, as we see in this letter Ford sent to the British automaker. But then, Lincoln also didn’t hesitate to essentially lift the Rolls-Royce grille and pop it onto the Continental Mark III in 1968. More recently, Bentley’s design chief publicly groused that the concept for the latest Lincoln Continental (pictured above) cribbed its design from Bentley’s Flying Spur.
With regard to the current controversy, regardless of its aural similarity to “Lincoln,” “Lynk & Co” sounds to us more like the name of a men’s clothing store than an automobile brand. If Lincoln prevails and Geely is forced to use a different name, it might be a win for both.