Since last June, when we reported on several U.S. trademarks filed by Toyota and its Scion and Lexus brands, there have been a number of new trademark and patent filings by Japan’s largest carmaker that are worthy of note.
On September 1, as the Toyota Europe Newsroom announced the global debut of the second TOYOTA C-HR Concept hybrid crossover at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the company’s U.S. outpost filed trademark number 86744518 for CH-R. The connection, of course, is obvious, and a reference to the original Toyota C-HR Concept that debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed a seemingly misplaced dash in the U.S. filing, with the European concept cars being C-dash-HR and the initial U.S. trademark being CH-dash-R. Apparently, someone caught this oopsie, and on September 10, a new trademark number 86752697 was filed for C-HR to match the concept cars’ punctuation.
But was this simply a matter of fixing an inadvertent error in punctuation, or is there a method to the madness? It all depends on what Toyota’s intent is. It could be simply a question of protecting the trademark for the second Frankfurt 2015 concept car (shown above) and its potential appearances on U.S. soil at the A-list Los Angeles (November 2015), Detroit (January 2016) and/or Chicago (February 2016) Auto Shows before the production version’s officially confirmed unveiling at the March 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Bear in mind that the production C-HR, a smaller-than-RAV4 crossover, is widely believed to be the promised third new Scion-branded model for North America that follows on the iA sedan and iM hatchback, and that March 2016 Geneva world debut dovetails nicely with a North American premiere for its Scion sibling at the New York Auto Show later that month.
Wait…don’t Scion model names consist of just two letters, with the second one being capitalized? For the most part, yes, but there is the exception of the all-capitals FR-S sports coupe. Thus, a CH-R trademark could follow that pattern. Then again, as we noted last June, Toyota has live but still unused trademarks for Scion iR, tR, tD, tK and tZ.
Yet, others wonder if, at some point, Scion might join Saab, Mercury, Plymouth, Pontiac and Oldsmobile and so many others in the pantheon of defunct automotive brands. Could the CH-R / C-HR trademarks be a clue to this possibility? Perhaps, as could be the fact that Scion iA branding for the rebadged Mexican-built Mazda2 sedan is a U.S.-only thing. In Canada it’s the Toyota Yaris sedan (capitalizing on the Yaris hatchback’s popularity in Quebec) and in its native Mexico it’s the Yaris R sedan (to distinguish it from the older non-R 2nd-gen Yaris sedan that remains on sale there). On the other hand, U.S. trademarks for Auris (presumably for the Scion iM) and 86 (for the FR-S) were both abandoned and dead since June 2011. And a Toyota Zelas trademark (as the Scion tC coupe is badged in Central and South America, China, the Middle East and Africa) has never been filed in the United States.
In a story perhaps more appropriately dated April 1, but that actually started on 3 September 2015, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America and inventors Umesh N. Gandhi and Robert W. Roe were granted patent US 2015/0246720 A1 for a “Stackable Wing for an Aerocar” as shown above. This was seemingly first discovered by Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik on September 7. The next day, Victoria Woollaston of the UK’s Daily Mail provided some informative historical context, including its inspiration from the multiplanes of the late 19th and early 20th century and commentary on the potential rival Terrafugia T-FX, whose side-stowed wings, Toyota hints, are too heavy and complex. (What, no mention of the HondaJet? Nah, that’s a totally different, more conventional animal)
From there, of course, the Toyota flying car story quickly went viral, with Paul Eisenstein’s account for NBC News yet another worthwhile read. Alas, there is no video yet on how precisely the 4 stacked wings on the rear-wheel-drive Toyota aerocar would deploy. Given its past history of whimsical, fun and unusual concepts, we’re hoping against hope that the upcoming 2015 Tokyo Motor Show’s Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 October press days will see the unveiling of a Toyota stackable-wing aerocar concept. Highly unlikely, I know, but still, fingers crossed…
Speaking of patents, one more article worth checking out is a Toyota Europe blog entry reminding us that the carmaker is the world’s automotive patent leader, with 26% of the over 57,000 such patents issued in 2014 credited to Toyota.
Our December 2014 report on Lexus’ LC 500 and LC 500h trademarks and June 2015 story citing an LS 500h trademark begged an obvious question: isn’t there an LS 500 trademark? Our friends at the Lexus Enthusiast blog indeed reported on such a filing in Europe (on 3 August 2015) and in Australia (on 4 August 2015) with nary a word on the United States. It turns out, however, that there is a U.S. trademark #86712607 for LS 500, filed on 3 August 2015.
Expect the LS 500 to be powered by a variant of the RC F and GS F’s non-hybrid, dual Atkinson/Otto cycle 2UR-GSE 467 hp and 389 lb/ft of torque 5-liter V8, but probably detuned for torquier, quieter and smoother running in the larger and heavier LS while maintaining 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 18 mpg (or better) combined fuel economy numbers on the U.S. EPA cycle, thus avoiding Gas Guzzler Tax penalties.
Historically, Gazoo Racing is as JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) as it gets. On 9 April 2015, however, the Toyota Global Newsroom announced the union of the separate Toyota Racing, Lexus Racing and GAZOO Racing teams under a broader GAZOO Racing motorsports banner. And even as Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and NASCAR racing activities in the United States appear to be unaffected by the move, the carmaker nevertheless filed a U.S. trademark (#86695233) for Gazoo Racing on 16 July 2015. Said trademark is for the purpose of
Arranging and conducting ride and drive events and exhibitions featuring passenger automobiles for educational and entertainment purposes; providing a web site with news and information regarding ride and drive events and exhibitions featuring passenger automobiles for educational and entertainment purposes.
To date, we have not seen or heard of any of those initiatives coming to fruition in the United States, but we’ll definitely be on the lookout and hope that the spirit of Gazoo and its avowed goal of expanding the role of promoting motorsports beyond that of traditional automakers and carrying out grassroots activities aimed at creating new and ever-growing generations of car enthusiasts crosses the Pacific.
Intersect by Lexus Records
Yours truly not only vividly recalls the Scion brand’s CD Samplers and later A/V Presents music CDs, but also still own a fair amount of them. Less well known is that, during the 2006-7 period, Lexus also dabbled in music CDs with its Accelerations and Hybrid Living discs a part of my collection. Flash forward a bit less than a decade, and this year we find an April 1 U.S. trademark filing #86583749 for Intersect by Lexus Records for
phonograph records, namely, vinyl records featuring music; compact discs featuring music
The Intersect by Lexus Records is an obvious tie-in with the Intersect by Lexus bistro/café/gallery.