Honda Super Cub Becomes the First 3D-Trademarked Two-Wheeler

Honda Super Cub 1 photo
Photo: Honda
Intellectual property is a really valuable asset, especially when it comes to best-selling products. And with more than 60 million units already sold back in 2008, the Honda Super Cub is definitely one authentic “crown jewel”, well worth investing a lot to protect. So it received the first-ever 3D trademark in Japan, most likely signaling a new trend in the industry, especially for products prone to be illegally copied.
Honda Super Cub was introduced in 1958 and multiple revisions have been sold worldwide, including the C50, C70 and C90, with the latter also sold in Europe. The exceptional versatility and dependability has drawn a massive following in emerging markets, with no less than 15 facilities still having the Super Cub in production in 14 countries. Multiple versions have been derived from the base model, including sport trail or “monkey bikes”, addressing the needs of an ever-increasing public.

It was the very popularity of the Super Cub which drawn so many small manufacturers to build knock-offs and benefit from the amazing sale potential the iconic design of the bike had. Though possibly among the earliest such moves, Honda’s 3D trademark for the Super Cub is so far the most advanced method to provide irrefutable proof in case a legal dispute over a similar product comes into discussion.

Obviously, the 3D trademark will have a very small impact on the low-level knock-off industry, and the repeated issues with Chinese scooter manufacturers which brought Vespa look-alikes at the EICMA show in Milan is the perfect proof.

However, the 3D trademark will be very helpful in Honda’s efforts to track down and stop the production of Super Cub replicas which may be spotted in countries which are members of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. That is, if Honda spots fake Cubs in such a country and asks for the local authorities for help in dealing with the manufacturers breaking the law, the WIPO-member status will bind the specialized structures of that country to take legal action.

Now, with the slow, but steady expansion of 3D printing and laser 3D scanning, manufacturing parts replicating certain iconic shapes is becoming easier by the day, and we might see more manufacturers opting for 3D trademarking for certain models.
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