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Chevrolet Bolt Application Suspended By U.S Patent Office

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On: Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 3:58PM | By: Carl Malek


Chevrolet Bolt Application Suspended By U.S Patent Office

When Chevrolet first unveiled the Bolt concept, it had ambitious plans to turn the Bolt into a production car, and put it on sale in a few years with a $35,000 base price. However, the company suffered a setback earlier this week when it was revealed that the United States Patent And Trademark Office (USPTO) has suspended GM's patent application for the Bolt nameplate, potentially opening up the possibility of a name change for the upcoming electric car.

According to the USPTO, the issue arises from "the likelihood of confusion" between the electric car and a motorcycle model made by Yamaha. Looking at the two patents, it appeared that Yamaha beat GM to the punch with its own trademark claim on the Bolt name (No. 4429759) that was filed with the office back in August of 2012. This was well before GM's push for the nameplate in 2014 and, while we are still pondering exactly how a motorcycle and a car will be confused for one another, the USPTO revealed that GM's application will be suspended until the prior trademark is either formally registered or is abandoned all together.

While it is currently unknown whether Yamaha will proceed with either registering or abandoning the trademark application in question, it does give GM the opportunity to possibly address some initial criticism over the Bolt name, especially if Yamaha's refusal to relinquish its claim on the name forces Chevrolet to do an abrupt name change for the car. It would be similar to what occurred between Porsche and Aston Martin when the British supercar maker was forced to change the name of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to the GT12 moniker after Porsche succeeded in a legal challenge in a European courtroom. While this particular issue does not involve the legal system, it will be very interesting to see what contingency plans GM has in place in the event that the USPTO does not reverse or alter its findings.

Curiously, it also appears that a separate page on the USPTO's website appears to list GM's claim as still active versus suspended, though we suspect that this irregularity is due to possibly the site not being updated versus any clandestine decision that was made between Yamaha and General Motors.

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