General Motors Secures The Rights To Mazda’s Tribute Trademark

Mazda Tribute 11 photos
Photo: Mazda
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Intellectual property is hard to define, but in the world of cars, even the names of those cars have to be trademarked in order to avoid any sort of confusion. General Motors, for example is twisting Mazda’s arm with the latest trademark it secured.
AutoGuide reports that General Motors filed an application for “Tribute” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on the date of February 16th, 2018. Identified by serial number 87800221, the trademark is intended for use in “motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines.”

This begs the question, why Tribute? Those who know your Mazda history well are aware that the Tribute was based on the Escape. The compact-sized utility vehicle was manufactured from 2000 to 2011, and as opposed to the Escape, the Tribute’s suspension was tuned for a firmer ride.

Mazda’s rights to the name expired in 2012, which means General Motors waited six years to snatch it from the Japanese automaker. Why now, why Mazda, why Tribute? It is impossible to give a definite answer to what made the biggest of the higher-ups at GM decide on this trademark, but stranger things have happened.

AutoGuide highlights that the filing is an indicator the nameplate “will be used on a future GM vehicle of some sort, although it’s not clear if it will be a Chevrolet, Buick or GMC.” On the other hand, a trademark doesn’t necessarily mean that the name will turn into a badge, an insignia meant to be affixed to the vehicle’s tailgate.

It’s worth remembering that General Motors is on the offensive, confirming that 20 electric and fuel-cell vehicles are to be launched by 2023. That’s a whole lot of names when you think about it, and Tribute could fit somewhere in there.

Two of those 20 vehicles will be based on the Bolt’s platform, five are believed to be crossovers, seven SUVs, two minivans, and there’s also an electric sports car waiting to pounce. An electric sports car that looks a lot like the Gen 6 Camaro.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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