On August 7th, 2017, General Motors filed to register two trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for Merge and Maven Merge. This is par for course for any multinational such as GM, which files various trademark filings during the course of a year. But these filings were no regular filings due to the goods and services category in which they were filed.
Specifically, the filings state that the standard character marks will be used to name goods and services in the following categories:
- Bicycles, electric bicycles, motorized bicycles, and structural parts thereof
- Motors for bicycles, and
- Electric conversion kits for bicycles comprised of motors for bicycles and electric handlebar motor controls
By contrast, typical GM trademark filings typically cite the goods and services category of “automobiles, cars and motor vehicles”, or some combination thereof. So, the question is — what is GM doing registering trademarks for bicycles and electric bikes? More specifically, is The General planning on expanding its business into other forms of transportation?
Some logical thinking would lead us to believe that GM could expand its Maven car sharing service by adding other transportation forms such as bikes and e-bikes. In many ways, such a solution would deliver what is often referred to as the “last mile” of transportation — the one that takes place after a customer (such as one driving a Maven car) has parked the car at the designated drop-off location, but still has a three-mile walk to his or her home or meeting place.
For this, most large cities already have bike sharing services, where customers can rent bikes with a credit card by the hour or day. Meanwhile, many bicycle makers — including Giant and Trek — are already offering e-bikes with pedal assist, which help the rider pedal faster for longer distances, minimizing fatigue.
If GM is actually planning on entering the bike/e-bike sharing business, the move raises more questions than we have answers. For instance, will the firm source the bikes from someone else, or design and manufacture its own? Given that the trademarks’ focus is on motorized and electric bikes, and that GM is one of the leading experts in electrified transportation thanks to such vehicles as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, we think that The General could very well leverage its electric vehicle tech for use in electric bikes.
Only time will tell how or even if GM will actually follow through in completing the registration of the Merge and Maven Merge trademarks, or if it will introduce a real-world product or service as described in the trademark filings. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to GM Authority as we follow this story, along with all other General Motors news.