US Patent and Trademark Office Says No to Chevy Bolt

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Trademarks help ensure that there is no confusion between products and brands. It means that when you buy a Chevrolet it’s a Chevrolet, not a Chevrolit made by some guy in his makeshift factory in Idaho. The idea is to protect you from getting confused about a product and to protect companies from having their products copied. Looks like the Chevy Bolt isn’t following the rules closely enough, so the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has suspended their application.

It is a mind-boggling process to obtain a trademark. There are reams of paperwork to fill out and lots of checks to be written before the USPTO gives the okay and makes a trademark official. It also takes a lot of time because they need to check to be sure that there is no way at all a new trademark could interfere with an existing trademark. This is where the Bolt ran into trouble.

There’s already a trademark for the Bolt and it even applies to another vehicle, but this one happens to roll along on two wheels rather than four. Yahama holds a trademark for the Bolt which was filed on August 9,2012. That’s two years before General Motors decided to use the name for its new electric vehicle.


The USPTO has suspended the Chevy Bolt’s application because of the potential for confusion. Yes, they’re worried you might be confused and think an electric vehicle with four wheels is actually a motorcycle. Stranger things have happened.

This is something that will make the folks over at GM unhappy, but all is not lost. It will be a headache for the poor guy who has to deal with the fallout of picking that name, announcing it, and not knowing there was another vehicle that had it first. That’s the bad part. The good part is that now they get to pick a better name.

They already have the Chevy Volt and the Bolt was set to play off of that naming convention. Sounds like a good idea, yet it wasn’t well received my anyone. The names are too close. The USPTO is worried about confusion with a motorcycle, but Chevy should be more worried about confusion with a car they already build.

The Chevy Bolt was due to be available for somewhere around $35,000 in a couple of years. That leaves them plenty of time to come up with something better and less confusing on all fronts.