Ford is suing Ferrari for trademark infringement after the Italian company named its 2011 Formula 1 car the ‘F150’, the name of the US giant’s top-selling pick-up truck.

In a complaint filed at the federal court, Ford claims that Ferrari's F150 logo bears striking resemblance to the one on its F-150 pickup.

The complaint states: “Ferrari has misappropriated the F-150 trademark in naming its new racing vehicle the 'F150' in order to capitalise on and profit from the substantial goodwill that Ford has developed in the F-150 trademark."

Ford is asking the court to bar Ferrari from using the name. The carmaker is also seeking unspecified damages, including damages of US$100,000 under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.

According to the complaint, the two automakers have a "legendary history as rivals in auto racing" and Ferrari has set up a website - www.ferrarif150.com - to promote the F1 racer.

When it launched the car in January Ferrari said: "The choice of name stems from Ferrari's desire to pay tribute to this year's 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy."