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Lucid Motors is stuck in a fight over the name of its Gravity SUV

Lucid Motors is at risk of losing the trademark for the name of its Gravity SUV, just months before the company is supposed to start production.

Google Ventures-backed EV charging company Gravity Inc. filed a "petition for cancellation" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in December asking for Lucid's Gravity trademark to be revoked. The startup claims in the petition that Lucid's use of the Gravity name could confuse consumers, since Gravity Inc. uses it for EV charging and has used it in the past to operate a fleet of EV taxis.

The challenge comes at a time when Lucid is struggling to drum up customers, putting increased pressure on the Gravity SUV to succeed when it rolls off the line at the end of this year. The company lost $2.8 billion in 2023 and is only projecting to make around 9,000 cars in 2024 after once predicting it would make 10 times that.

Lucid has disputed the petition, but recently warned investors in its annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that "[s]uch oppositions and challenges can be expensive and may adversely affect our ability to maintain the goodwill gained in connection with a particular trademark." A spokesperson for Lucid declined to comment beyond what's in the filings with the TTAB.

"We feel very, very confident about it," Moshe Cohen, Gravity Inc.'s CEO, said of the petition in an interview with TechCrunch.

Gravity Inc. has spent the last few years working on designing and building advanced fast-charging stations for electric vehicles, and launched its first flagship location in New York City last week. It also began operating a fleet of electric taxis in the city in late 2021 as part of Taxi and a Limousine Commission (TLC) pilot program, using a Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y SUV.

The startup received its trademark for the use of the word Gravity in 2017, in relation to "transportation services, namely, hired car transport; passenger transport; taxi and limousine transport" and "computer software and downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for coordinating transportation services, namely, software for the automated scheduling and dispatch of motorized vehicles."

The TLC pilot program ended in 2023, though. A TLC spokesperson told TechCrunch that one of Gravity's taxis is still active in its system.

Lucid, in its answer to the petition filed last week, says that Gravity does not currently operate an EV fleet and argues that consumers would not be confused by the two different uses of the Gravity name.

"[T]he offering for sale of electrically powered automobiles is totally distinct from [Gravity Inc.'s] alleged provision of hired-car transport, passenger transport, and taxi and limousine
transport services, and related transportation offerings, to such a degree that consumers are not likely to believe that [Gravity Inc.'s] and [Lucid's] goods and/or services are connected," Lucid says in its response. "Moreover, upon information and belief, [Gravity Inc.] ceased use of the GRAVITY mark for transportation and transportation-related services before the filing of this petition."

To that end, Lucid also filed a counterclaim with the purpose of trying to force Gravity Inc. to give up its trademark because it abandoned the fleet business. "[Lucid] believes that it is being and will continue to be damaged by [Gravity Inc.'s] registration," the company writes.