General Motors has applied for the “Chevelle” trademark, GM Authority has exclusively learned. The trademark application was filed with the USPTO on December 4, 2012 in the “Exterior badges for vehicles” category of Goods and Services, and carries the serial number of 85794159.
As of March 22, 2013, the application has a status of “Non-Final Action – Mailed” (641), which more than likely means that the Trademark office has informed the applicant (GM) that the application will be published for opposition — a time period that allows others to object to GM securing the mark. The step that usually is the NOA, or the Notice of Allowance, which allows the applicant to move forward in finalizing the registration of the mark.
Why Is GM Pursuing The Chevelle Name?
More important than the specifics of the trademark process is the reasoning behind GM’s application for the trademark. Is The General looking to resurrect the storied Chevelle name on a vehicle? The last time it was used was 1977, at which point Chevy’s midsize Chevelle lineup was succeeded by the already-existing Malibu nameplate. Now, before the “GM is just trying to protect its history and applies for thousands of trademarks a year” types come out of the woodwork, we believe that this is simply not the case. Here’s why.
For starters, companies no longer file for trademarks for the sake of filing, or in the name of corporate protection/security — since today’s trademark environment is significantly different than that of the days of yore. Today, in order to complete the registration of a trademark, the applicant must file a legal document called a “Statement of Use”, or SOU. This document specifically requests that the applicant demonstrate the current (not future, or planned) business reason (most commonly defined as the trademark’s use for a real product) for the applicant being granted the trademark. Without an SOU, a trademark will not be granted. Of note is the fact that the applicant has the ability to prolong the time it has to file an SOU by six terms, each lasting six months, or a total of 36 months (3 years).
As such, it should be safe to assume that a vehicle with the Chevelle nameplate is on the horizon… and what other GM brand will wear it except for Chevy?
The GM Authority Take
As we see it, there are two ways in which GM can use the Chevelle nameplate. The first is for the replacement of the Chevy SS performance sedan. We love the idea behind the 2014 SS, but consent that it could be named better. And given that the Holden VF Commodore on which the 2014 SS is based will only be around for three years until the all-new model shows up, the timing coincides with how long GM has to complete the registration of the Chevelle trademark in filing the SOU.
The second possibility is a bit more involved, and goes something like this: what if GM is planning to bring the CODE 130R concept to market, and offer the vehicle alongside the next-gen Camaro? That scenario could see the more compact (think Toyota GT86/Subaru BR-Z) CODE 130R wear the Camaro nameplate, while a larger coupe would get the Chevelle name. This kind of scenario would most definitely raise the question of whether there is enough market demand for two performance coupes (three, if you count the Corvette) in the Chevy line — but that’s a whole other bag of lug nuts.
Why do you think GM is after the Chevelle trademark? Talk to us in the comments.